UK Defense Chief To NATO: Pull Your Weight In Europe While US Handles China


From Otto Kreisher, AOL Defense:  Great Britain’s new defense minister delivered a surprising rebuff to his fellow European defense leaders: Stop complaining about being abandoned as the US shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region and prepare to "do much more of the heavy lifting" on security in your own backyard.

Secretary of State for Defense Phillip Hammond issued that challenge to the other members of the NATO alliance in a speech Wednesday at the Willard Hotel. . . .

"Far from being concerned about the tilt to Asia-Pacific, the European NATO powers should welcome the fact that the US is willing to engage in this new strategic challenge on behalf of the alliance," he said.

This was an obvious reaction to the chorus of complaints from the major European allies about the reduction in US forces and national security focus associated with the new strategic guidance President Barack Obama announced early this year.

Instead of worrying about the cutbacks to US military power in the region, which many NATO countries apparently had been counting on to offset their own deep defense reductions, Hammond said the allies must recognize that "as a result, European nations, including the UK, will need to do much more of the heavy lifting in the security of their own region," including both Europe itself and the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the Horn of Africa, which he called "the near abroad."  (photo: Department of Defense)

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