Nato tells Donald Trump going it alone on defence is not an option

Jens Stoltenberg says Europe and the US need to stick together as they face the greatest security dangers for a generation

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The Independent US

Nato's secretary-general has responded to Donald Trump's criticism of the organisation by reminding him that member states came to the aid of the US after 9/11.

Jens Stoltenberg's intervention comes after the US President-elect sparked alarm across Europe by calling into question the bedrock Nato doctrine of collective defence during his campaign.

The head of the western alliance insisted that Europe and the US need to stick together as they face the greatest security dangers for a generation.

“The only time Nato has invoked its self-defence clause, that an attack on one is an attack on all, was in support of the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“This was more than just a symbol. Nato went on to take charge of the operation in Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of European soldiers have served in Afghanistan since.

“And more than 1,000 have paid the ultimate price in an operation that is a direct response to an attack against the US.

“Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States.

“We face the greatest challenges to our security in a generation. This is no time to question the value of the partnership between Europe and the US,” the former Norwegian prime minister wrote in The Observer.

The Nato chief conceded that Mr Trump has a point about the need for some members to make a bigger financial contribution.

“It is all too easy to take the freedoms, security and prosperity we enjoy for granted. In these uncertain times we need strong American leadership, and we need Europeans to shoulder their fair share of the burden. But above all we need to recognise the value of the partnership between Europe and America. It remains indispensable,” he wrote.

The US President-elect claimed that Nato was unable to deal with terrorism and said he would be ready to tell allies who do not pay their way: “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

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