Macron laments Nato’s ‘brain death’

November 08, 2019


PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with British weekly The Economist, warned fellow European countries that they could no longer rely on the United States to defend North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) allies.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato,” Macron was quoted as saying.

Asked whether he still believed in the Article Five “collective defence” stipulations of Nato’s founding treaty — under which an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies — Macron answered: “I don’t know.” “[Nato] only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what Nato is in the light of the commitment of the United States,” Macron added.

The United States is showing signs of “turning its back on us”, as demonstrated by President Donald Trump’s sudden decision last month to pull troops out of northeastern Syria last month without consulting the allies, the French leader said.

The European allies fear the US withdrawal from northeastern Syria will cause a security vacuum that can be exploited by Islamist militants.

France has long pressed for closer European defence cooperation but has faced resistance from Britain and others which say the United States remains key to Western defence, especially in the face of a more assertive Russia.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2019