In a speech calling for a renewal of NATO strength, President Obama also spoke out strongly against timidity on the part of European countries, particularly Germany, to hit President Vladimir Putin and his cronies where it hurts because of economic dependence on Russia. The president acknowledged that “if we define our interests narrowly, if we applied a cold-hearted calculus, we might decide to look the other way. Our economy is not deeply integrated with Ukraine’s.” But the president then hit hard at the memories of 20th century Europe’s failures, challenging that “that kind of casual indifference would ignore the lessons that are written in the cemeteries of this continent. It would allow the old way of doing things to regain a foothold in this young century.” The president also called out low defense spending on the part of European countries, which has reduced NATO capabilities, however he did single out Britain for making more of a contribution than the rest.
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