Nato is the key to our stability – so pay for it
Telegraph View (external - login to view)
19 February 2017
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence before their meeting at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2017. Credit: MICHAEL DALDER
The world must take note of what happened in Montenegro. It paid scant attention last October when reports surfaced of an attempted coup. All eyes were on the American election; Montenegro is small and hardly known. But we can now reveal that plans were laid for a bloody coup, which was designed to kill the prime minister and destabilise the country. The goal was to prevent this sovereign nation from joining Nato. According to intelligence sources, the puppet-master was Russia.
It all sounds familiar. In the last few chaotic years, Moscow has backed a separatist movement in Ukraine, propped up Bashar al-Assad in Syria, stands accused of murdering critics on foreign soil and is believed to have bankrolled opposition parties abroad. It is even alleged to have interfered in the US election.
So the job of the American team at the Security Conference in Munich has not been easy. After inheriting this mess from Barack Obama, Donald Trump seeks a new relationship with Russia, in recognition of what is clearly an unhappy situation in which Vladimir Putin is a key player.
But the Europeans fear this means capitulation to Moscow. Vice President Mike Pence assured them that Washington’s commitment to Nato is strong (external - login to view)
, that Russia must honour the 2015 Ukraine peace deal and that the West is bound together by common values. He also made a very good point about expenditure: if Europe wants a collective defence then it must pay for it.
Meeting the 2 per cent spending target is not a condition for Nato membership or protection. But the collective defence of freedom must be more than just an American policing operation. If Canada under Justin Trudeau imagines itself as the defender of liberalism, let it put its money where its mouth is.
Likewise, if Europe is so intent on integration then what is it doing to defend countries such as Montenegro? Several European countries spend less on defence than the budget of the New York Police Department. (external - login to view)
Britain must meet its own obligations and take the case for Western resolve directly to the Trump administration. The stakes are high. In Munich, the Russian foreign minister spoke of a post-West order. The reality of that proposition may sadly be disorder and freedom for tyrants. Only Nato retains the power, and hopefully the will, to stand up for democracy and the rule of law.
Nato: Who Pays?
Nato is the key to our stability (external - login to view)