Ex-NATO chief: 'Stop cuts to defense'

Ex- NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop is pleading for The Netherlands to stop "all these wild cuts" to defense. De Hoop tells Het Financieele Dagblad that in the wake of the MH17 tragedy, the urgency to return the country's line of defense to it's fittest state is "enormous".

De Hoop argues that imposing further cuts on defense in these times is unwise, seeing that Europe is surrounded by "a big arch of instability."

"The urgency to bring our defense to order is enormous". The current tensions in Europe in general, and with Russia in particular, only serve to highlight that The Netherlands must be prepared for any impending action. "It is without doubt the worst crisis since the Cold War."

"Let's not wake up one morning, like it happened in another episode of our history, to discover that we have done too little", the ex- Secretary General for NATO tells the paper.

De Hoop does not foresee an easy process in bringing justice to the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight. He says that it will be difficult bringing to court those responsible for shooting down the plane.

"Putin has to co-operate to get those men in front of a court of law. I don't see him doing that, and the gentlemen in Ukraine will not give themselves up of their own volition any time soon."