- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
NATO leader: Egyptian unrest may hurt Europe
Question of the Day
BRUSSELS (AP) — The unrest roiling countries such as Egypt and Tunisia could cause economic hardship in Europe and increase illegal immigration, NATO's top official warned Monday.
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged European governments that have cut defense spending sharply as they have trimmed their budgets to maintain their military capabilities.
The NATO leader said the unrest may harm local economies, spurring illegal migration to Europe.
Events in the Middle East and North Africa "serve as a timely reminder that we cannot take security for granted, even in our immediate neighborhood," he said, urging European nations to keep their level of defense spending up.
The military alliance so far has refrained from commenting directly on the turmoil engulfing those two countries and other Western allies in the Middle East.
NATO cooperates closely with a group of friendly nations in the region in a process known as the Mediterranean Dialogue. Besides Egypt and Tunisia, the group includes Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania. NATO also has a separate cooperation agreement with a number of Persian Gulf states.
"Therefore, it's quite natural that we follow the situation in Egypt and other countries with great interest," Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
"But I don't consider the situation as a direct threat to NATO allies," he said. The alliance has no intention of intervening in the crises, he said.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also warned that the instability could harm the Mideast peace process. He is scheduled to travel to Israel this week to address an annual conference on security and international issues.
Over the past two years, defense spending by NATO's European members has shrunk by about $45 billion — the equivalent of the entire annual defense budget of Germany, one of the alliance's top-spending members.
As a result, the U.S. defense budget of nearly $700 billion accounts for nearly 75 percent of the total defense spending by NATO members. The combined military spending of all 26 European members is just above $220 billion.
"If we do not address these problems, we risk a divided and weaker Europe, increasingly adrift from the United States," Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare in intensive care
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq