NATO’s Anniversary Tense as US Officials Slam Turkey, Germany

Pence: Unacceptable for Germany to 'neglect its own self-defense'

70th anniversary festivities for the NATO alliance were meant to be a big love-in for the alliance members, all insisting that the anti-Soviet alliance is more relevant than ever, despite the Soviet Union not existing anymore.

Instead, lip-service about the “threat” of Russia only served to underscore how divided NATO is, and how much of it boils down to the US just railing at other nations for not buying more US-made arms to gear up for a war that wildly unlikely.

Vice President Mike Pence singled out Germany for criticism for the usual complaint of not spending more on their military, declaring it “unacceptable” to the US that Germany is neglecting its own self-defense.

Yet in practice, Germany is top-10 worldwide in military spending, and borders no enemies. It is a fairly straightforward argument that Germany’s self-defense needs are limited, and well-handled with $45 billion in spending.

In reality, Germany’s sin is not buying US arms. Pence also went after Turkey for the same thing, complaining about Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400s for their air defense. The S-400 is a cheaper choice than the US alternatives, and the US has vowed to punish Turkey by prohibiting them from buying the F-35.

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged NATO to focus on the “threats” of China and Russia, all it really means is that he intends to keep pushing spending increases. The myth of such threats is holding NATO together, but there is clearly some discomfort as nations like Germany and Turkey bristle at US attempts to maintain control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of