Monday 18 November 2019

Nato allies cannot rely on US, warns Macron


French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Catherine Nouvelle

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned European countries they could no longer rely on the United States to defend Nato allies.

"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato," Mr Macron said in an interview with 'The Economist' magazine.

Asked whether he still believed in the "collective defence" stipulations of Nato's founding treaty - under which an attack on one ally is considered 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 we should reassess the reality of what Nato is in the light of the commitment of the United States," Mr Macron said.

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 north-east Syria without consulting the allies, the French leader said.

That move caught Nato's leading European powers - France, Britain and Germany - by surprise and paved the way for Turkey, another Nato member, to launch a cross-border military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.

At the time, Mr Macron decried Nato's inability to react to Turkey's offensive and said it was time Europe stopped acting like a junior ally of the United States when it came to the Middle East.

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

Irish Independent

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