Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has always taken something of a drastic approach in terms of foreign policy. However, Trump has now suggested that his presidency could signal an end for NATO by saying that the United States might not necessarily defend some NATO allies. Donald Trump furthered his comments by suggesting that he would review a country’s request for assistance depending on how much it contributes to the military alliance, which would be an unprecedented move for a NATO member.
According to The Guardian, Donald Trump’s presidency could drastically shake up the United States’ foreign policy and change the way NATO works. As well as suggesting that he may not support every NATO ally in their time of need, Trump has signaled something of a back seat role for the US during his presidency. Trump went on to speak about how he wouldn’t interfere in authoritarian schemes amongst allies, allowing crackdowns on political opponents or the suppression of civil liberties.
In terms of NATO, Donald Trump feels that the US is bearing too much of the cost for the military alliance, insisting that other members must contribute more. At the same time, Trump would look for the United States to focus on its own defense before assisting other members of the NATO alliance.
The comments from Donald Trump are being seen as a break with both US and NATO tradition. Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are typically expected to readily defend another NATO member unconditionally if that member comes under attack. However, Donald Trump has suggested that he’d seek to rip up some of the treaties the United States is party to, meaning the country wouldn’t have to unconditionally defend other NATO members.
Whilst many have called Donald Trump’s approach to the longstanding military alliance as dangerous, Trump reassured supporters that the world would adjust, continuing with the rhetoric that the United States has borne the cost of NATO for far too long. That being said, Donald Trump’s NATO shake-up could effectively push some members out of the military alliance, with countries that contribute lesser amounts to the alliance simply not able to afford NATO’s support.
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Donald Trump’s decision to focus on the United States’ defense before that of allies isn’t a complete surprise, however. The candidate has consistently run his campaign with an intention to put America first and has always signaled that he’d look to scale back the United States’ involvement overseas. Trump reiterated that claim with his most recent comments, saying that the focus of his presidency would be to fix America’s problems at home before involving itself in other matters.
That being said, Donald Trump may not actively involve himself in US foreign policy. According to the Huffington Post, it’s looking increasingly likely that Donald Trump will be a president in name only, with the responsibility of governance placed on his running mate and potential vice president, Mike Pence.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has consistently signaled that the presidency is a pretty easy job. However, that could be because he plans to share many of the responsibilities of being president with Pence. As the incumbent governor of Indiana, Pence has considerably more political experience than Donald Trump, and that’s something the Republican nominee could seek to take advantage of if he wins the presidency, making Pence the most powerful VP in history.
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