USA threatens to 'moderate its commitment' to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Some NATO allies also have expressed concern over what they perceive as a softer stance toward Russian Federation. They are aware that Mr Flynn's secret conversations with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, had involved lifting sanctions imposed on Russia over the annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine's civil war - the only real punitive action available to the alliance without resorting to arms. "I don't think Mattis views it that way at all".

Mattis' role seems to be going around the world reassuring our allies.

Mattis, never one to mince words, responded simply that his job was still to "listen, learn, help, and lead" - and that he planned to work side-by-side with whomever was chosen to replace Flynn: "Frankly, this has no impact". Flynn's resignation "doesn't change my message at all".

Mattis' comments come shortly after he called the alliance a "fundamental bedrock" for the public remarks before the meeting. Mattis is also there to kick some of them in the ass over the issue of collective defense. But Trump has made change a priority, saying allies have "been very unfair to us" for not spending more.

Still, allies must do more, Mattis said.

Stoltenberg confirmed that the alliance is planning an additional increase in its military presence in the Black Sea region.

Although Trump was critical of the alliance long before Flynn became his adviser, the general took credit for shaping his thinking about the partnership on the campaign trail.

"I have called today in the plenary session for those countries that haven't met 2 percent to agree to at least increase their budget annually", Fallon said.

Still, his speech stressed that allies must share the defense burden.

The three were arrested last Friday near the coastal city of Montpellier and later indicted for "criminal association in connection with a criminal terrorist enterprise", the sources said.

But he is also expected to stress Trump's demand that member countries increase their military spending.

"America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense", Mattis said in a statement delivered to members of the 28-nation military pact.

But it is not just numbers that were of concern to the assembled of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "Americans can not care more for your children's future security than you do", Mr Mattis told the ministers.

"When America retrenches and retreats, it leaves behind a vacuum, and that vacuum is filled by bad guys", Rasmussen said. He will deliver the familiar message with more punch and with a clear implication that this time the U.S. administration expects to see prompt action.

Germany has contributed only 1.19 percent and would need to boost its defense spending about $75 billion per year to reach the 2 percent target.

On Sunday, the New York Times ran a piece on the confusion and dysfunction on the National Security Council, where the Trump team's political concerns and unpredictability have reportedly rattled the staff.

  • Leroy Wright