Mattis: ‘Russia Must Know… What We Will Not Tolerate’

Germany and the United States stand together, allied against threats to the peace and security of this continent, Canada and the United States and the disruption of harmony elsewhere.

The U.S. commitment to our NATO Article V security guarantee is iron clad. As demonstrated over decades, our steadfastness and given voice more recently by President Trump before the American people in the Rose Gardens with the NATO ally, Romanian President Iohannis standing at the side and certainly, it was given voice by the United States Senate just a short couple of days ago in a unanimous resolution, 100 to zero….

Since World War II, European allies from contributed to large scale U.S. led global operations, had peak contributions 39,000 allies fought with the United States in Afghanistan and 59,000 allies fought with us in Iraq.

We must not allow the years passed since 1947 to blind us to the reality of today. For those of us who grew up with freedom from fear, from starvation, and the burden of World War, we cannot turn away from the responsibility to pass these same freedoms intact to the next generation. Allies stick together as we did 69 years ago this week when the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin and the United States refused to abandon it.

U.S. Air Force Captain Billy Phelps flew 167 flights into that stranded city bringing food in the cold to save its inhabitants from starvation and bitter cold. Captain Phelps was 26 years old the night his cargo plane crashed a mile from the end of the runway. A German boy named Wolfgang Samuel saw it happen. Wolf wrote, “They fell like a rock out of the sky. The two pilots were killed.” And then the child had a flash of insight. He said, “Only three years ago, they were fighting against my country and now, they were dying for us. I wondered, he said, what made these people do the things they did.”

Captain Phelps knew he owed future generations the same freedom he had and what young Wolfgang, a little German kid saw that cold December night in 1948, we can see clearly today in 2017.

We can see foreigners putting their lives on the line for others, whether Captain Billy Phelps or the Berlin Airlift or the men and women of NATO’s enhanced forward presence under German leadership in the Lithuanian woods right now. We can see U.S. support for NATO’s forward presence extended out to 2020 for the security of the United States and all NATO nations….

I will conclude with a message to the nation choosing to challenge this secure and peaceful order. The United States seeks to engage with Russia and so does the NATO alliance but Russia must know both what we stand for and equally, what we will not tolerate.  We stand for freedom and we will never surrender the freedom of our people or the values of our alliance that we hold dear….

Enemies of freedom will be frustrated or defeated. Supporters of international law will be brought into our community as equals.

Excerpts from remarks by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany, June 28, 2017.

Image: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in London, March 31, 2017 (photo: Sgt. Amber Smith/US Army)