French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday stood by his controversial remarks that NATO is “brain dead,” saying that it was a useful wake-up call to alliance members. 

Read more: France’s Macron laments ‘brain death of NATO’

Macron’s sharp criticism in early November has stirred debate in Washington and European capitals ahead of a December 4 NATO leaders’ summit in London.

Speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Macron pressed for more unity and coordination within the alliance, and the need for Europe to take on more security responsibility.

The French leader has been critical of the United States after it abruptly pulled troops out of northeastern Syria, allowing NATO member Turkey to launch an incursion against the Kurdish YPG militia fighting against the “Islamic State” group. The US and Turkey did not coordinate their moves with NATO members.

Macron said that Turkey cannot expect solidarity from NATO allies while also launching an offensive in Syria as a “fiat accompli.” The comments comes as Turkey is reportedly resisting an alliance defense plan for the Baltics and Poland unless NATO provides Ankara more political and military support in its fight against the against Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria.

Macron calls for dialogue with Russia 

Touching on relations with Russia, Macron urged the alliance to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a host of issues. He said this includes Europe being involved in a new pact limiting mid-range nuclear missiles held by the US and Russia, after the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty collapsed in August.

“We want a lucid, robust and demanding dialogue with Russia, with neither naivety nor complacency,” Macron said.

“An accord that would replace the INF… requires the involvement of Europeans,” he said. “It’s a question of the security of Europe.”

More to come…


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