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Senior US General: Brexit Will Weaken NATO

March 22, 2016 9:28 AM

Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commander, participates in a group interview with the leaders of NATO allied forces during his visit to the Hohenfels Training Area during Allied Spirit I in Hohenfels, Germany, Jan. 23, 2015

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commander Land Forces Europe, in Germany during "Allied Spirit"

Speaking to the BBC, Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, Commander, NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey, said that Russian action in Syria and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine were threats to the security of Europe. He added that the Nato alliance and the EU must remain strong if Putin's aggressive policies are to be contained but that strength would be put at risk if Britain left the EU.

"The UK is such an important member of the alliance. It is a leader in the alliance. It is a leader in Europe. The most reliable trusted friends and allies we have are all European countries and so what goes on here is of strategic interest to us. Anything that undermines the effectiveness of the alliance has an impact on us, and so if the EU begins to become unravelled there can't help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance also."

Hodges is very familiar with Europe. He first served as an Infantry Lieutenant in Germany, eventually commanding at brigade levels with the elite 101st Airborne Division in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, NATO Allied Land Command from 2012 to 2014.