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article imageNATO general agrees with Trump in part about NATO being obsolete

By Ken Hanly     Jan 18, 2017 in Politics
While North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) supporters predictably panned Trump's recent criticism of NATO as obsolete, some agreed with Trump including a top NATO general and the leader of the German opposition,
Trump's criticism of NATO is not new nor is the support for his position. Criticism he made earlier last year got positive reviews from some experts who agreed with some of the points he made. This time around NATO General Denis Mercier said that some structures of the military alliance are obsolete and need to be brought up to date and there was also a need for adaptation.
Mercier felt that NATO was too much focused on sending troops abroad or expeditionary warfare. He singled out in particular the operation in Afghanistan. Mercier says that NATO's approach to fighting terrorism should be changed. In part, he said, the change should involve aiding countries under threat to develop their own long-term plans to fight terrorism. Gen. Mercier is France’s Air Force Chief of Staff as well as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
The Supreme Allied Command Transformation (ACT) has as its function to focus on future threats. Its purpose is to modernize parts of NATO that are approaching obsolescence. It is not really all that surprising that Mercier would see significant parts of NATO that are obsolete and express some degree of agreement with Trump. However, his public agreement with Trump reveals a break with the leadership of NATO which wants to show that NATO is relevant and irreplaceable.
Sarah Wagenknecht of Die Linke the largest German opposition party urged the dissolution of NATO. Wagenknecht said to the media: "NATO must be dissolved and replaced by a collective security system including Russia." She claimed that Trump's comments "mercilessly reveal the mistakes and failures of the German federal government"
Trump says NATO is obsolete because it was designed many years ago. He also said that it had not defended against terrorist attacks. However, Trump also claimed that NATO was still very important to him. Trump complained that many NATO members were not paying their fair share for US protection: “A lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States. With that being said, NATO is very important to me. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much." There are 28 member states across Europe and North America.
More about General Denic Mercie, Donald trump, Nato