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1 Apr, 2024 09:51

EU can no longer expect US to defend it – arms maker

If conflict occurs, Washington will focus on Asia, and European NATO members will be “totally alone,” Rheinmetall’s CEO has warned
EU can no longer expect US to defend it – arms maker

Washington has sent a clear message to European NATO members that they can no longer rely on its military protection, the head of German defense giant Rheinmetall has claimed.

For decades, the EU has taken it for granted that the US would come to its rescue in case of war, but “that will no longer happen,” CEO Armin Papperger told The Financial Times. He cited the failure of the US Congress to approve continued military assistance to Ukraine as a signal to Europe that the Americans are not willing to pay for its security.

The US is treaty-obligated to consider an attack on any NATO member as an attack on itself. The so-called Article 5 commitment has been brought into question by former President Donald Trump, who has argued that US protection should be conditional on other bloc members meeting their military spending obligations. Trump claims he said as much to a European leader while in office. US President Joe Biden has denounced the remarks as “dangerous” and “un-American”.

If Trump is reelected as president in November, “the pressure will be higher” on Germany, Papperger said, but the risk will still be there regardless of who wins the presidency.

”The US focuses more on the Asia-Pacific area than on Europe,” he said. If a full-blown armed conflict erupts in the region, “the US will focus on Asia, and then Europe will be totally alone.”

Papperger said his warning to European nations stems from his enduring perception of the world as “dangerous.” It has also shaped his response to the Ukraine crisis and the EU’s intention to ramp up arms production. Unlike people at the helm of other major producers, he did not hesitate to invest in expansion, the Financial Times report noted.

Since the Russia-Ukraine hostilities erupted in 2022, the Dusseldorf-based company’s share price has surged fivefold. Rheinmetall has announced plans to open armor and munitions factories in Ukraine, despite the risk of them being targeted by Russian forces.

Kiev and its Western backers have claimed that a Russian victory in the conflict would expose NATO members in Europe to a future attack by Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin called this argument “simply delirious” last week, considering the vast advantage in military spending that the US-led military bloc has.