PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron says he believes NATO is now experiencing “brain death”, citing a lack of coordination between Europe and the US and unilateral actions in Syria by Turkey.
In an interview with The Economist magazine published on Thursday, Macron warned that European countries were “on the edge of a precipice” and needed to reclaim “control of our destiny.”
The French leader described the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as strategically and politically defunct, warning Europeans that they could no longer rely on America to defend NATO allies.
He said there were clear signs that America, under the presidency of Donald Trump, was “turning its back on us.”
Macron criticized Trump for pulling back American forces in Syria and allowing NATO member Turkey to go ahead with its operation in the Arab country.
“NATO as a system doesn’t regulate its members,” Macron noted, adding, “So as soon as you have a member who feels they have a right to head off on their own, granted by the USA, they do it.”.
“It’s not in our interest” to push Turkey out of NATO “but perhaps to reconsider what NATO is.”
Macron said European countries needed to see NATO for what it is and get themselves out of it.
“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron said, adding, it was high time for Europe to “wake up”.
“We need to recognize that we have a problem,” he said, adding after recognizing the problem, there needed to be planning and action to resolve it.
“We should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States,” he said.
Macron noted that Europe was strong enough to defend itself without help from the US. “In my opinion, Europe has the capacity to defend itself.”
Germany’s Merkel, NATO chief dismiss Macron’s remarks
Reacting to Macron’s statements on NATO, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed the French president’s assertions, saying that such comments were not necessary.
Macron “used drastic words, that is not my view of cooperation in NATO,” said Merkel after talks with visiting chief of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.
“I don’t think that such sweeping judgments are necessary, even if we have problems and need to pull together,” she added.
Meanwhile, Stoltenberg, for his part, stressed that “NATO is strong,” adding that the United States and Europe “work together more than we have done for decades.”