Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pence and Merkel embrace NATO but differ on transatlantic partnership by Michael Birnbaum and Ashley Parker | In Europe, Pence says US will hold Russia accountable by Ken Thomas | AP | Trump’s Pick to Replace Flynn Turns Down the Job - NYT | Mattis shot back: "I have no need to respond to the Russian statement at all. NATO has always stood for military strength and protection of the democracies and the freedoms we intend to pass on to our children." - Reuters



Pence and Merkel embrace NATO but differ on transatlantic partnership 




In Europe, Pence says US will hold Russia accountable 




Robert S. Harward, a retired vice admiral and Navy SEAL, during a visit to Zaranj, Afghanistan, in 2011. He refused to replace Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser. Credit Sgt. Shawn Coolman/U.S. Marines 


Trump’s Pick to Replace Flynn Turns Down the Job - NYT


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"Mattis, who has previously accused Russia of trying to break the NATO alliance, told a closed-door session of NATO on Wednesday that it needed to be realistic about the chances of restoring a cooperative relationship with Moscow.

He cited Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, which plunged U.S.-Russia relations to a post-Cold War low. Mattis said NATO needed "negotiate from a position of strength" as he called for stepped up military spending.

That prompted a terse reply from Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. "Attempts to build a dialogue with Russia from a position of strength would be futile," he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

Mattis shot back: "I have no need to respond to the Russian statement at all. NATO has always stood for military strength and protection of the democracies and the freedoms we intend to pass on to our children."

The back-and-forth came even as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Germany, and U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. military officer, met Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov in Azerbaijan."