Mattis, in London, Toes British Line on Russia
April 1, 2017 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was in London yesterday for meetings with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon; his performance there, illustrates the dangers of the so-called U.S.-U.K. "special relationship" and why re-establishing full military-to-military relations between the United States and Russia is absolutely crucial. Mattis exhibited full acceptance of the British line about Russian "aggression" and went so far as to express support for the idea that Russia "mucks around in" the elections of other countries. This would seem to be contrary to President Trump’s stated intentions to seek to improve relations with Russia.
he said, during his joint press conference with Fallon. This, he claimed is the reason why NATO is so important, on which Fallon fully agreed. Fallon declared that the United Kingdom wants to see NATO’s forward presence in Eastern Europe be as
On the subject of NATO commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti’s and U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel’s testimony alleging Russian support to the Afghan Taliban, Mattis said,
he said. "It’s no longer a cooperative engagement with them."
The U.S. and British press jumped on Mattis’s remarks in particular, as if saying he’s "seen the light" on Russia’s alleged bad behavior. But the Russian Embassy in London pushed back, dismissing Fallon’s remarks as a "string of unfounded accusations." "Russia is an independent and sovereign state pursuing its national interest as defined by ourselves," a spokesperson told the Independent, saying that it was "clearing up the mess" made by Western states in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, was more discreet. He "sought to assuage worries that the new administration would seek closer ties with Russia at NATO’s expense," according to Bloomberg News. "[T]he U.S. commitment to NATO is strong and this alliance remains the bedrock for trans-Atlantic security," Tillerson said March 31 in Brussels. "The NATO alliance is also fundamental to countering both nonviolent, but at times violent, Russian agitation and Russian aggression." He said U.S. sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea "will remain until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered our sanctions" and "we will continue to hold Russia accountable."
In response to the NATO meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was "astonished" at Tillerson’s remarks.
the ministry said.
the ministry said.
More generally, the ministry said it saw no evidence that NATO was ready to resume practical cooperation. "Actually, we are being drawn into a confrontational paradigm of relations based on the logic of military confrontation," the ministry said.