Amidst a global crisis, former President Donald Trump has raised concerns about America’s commitment to its allies. In a recent speech, he revealed that when he was president, he told European leaders that the US would not defend their countries if they were attacked by Russia. He emphasized that NATO members needed to pay their debts and claimed that when he was president, the US would not lift a finger to defend them if they were attacked by Russia. This has caused anxiety among NATO members and others who rely on US support for their security.
The NATO alliance was established in 1949 as a collective defense agreement. Trump’s assertion that NATO members “owe money” is based on a misunderstanding. Although NATO countries agreed to dedicate at least 2% of their gross domestic product to their defense 18 years ago, most countries, including the largest, did not comply with this agreement. During his presidency, Trump focused on this matter and showed little interest in the actual security of NATO.
Trump’s announcement has raised concerns among countries along the possible front line with Russia and America’s military and political partners from Northeast Asia to the South Pacific. This explicit statement violates the US’s signed international obligations.
Meanwhile, Trump’s opponent in the Republican primaries, Nikki Haley, is making age and mental capacity an issue in her election campaign. Although polls show her far behind Trump, she is highlighting the age and mental capacity of both him and Joe Biden. The constitution requires a presidential candidate to be at least 35 years old, which was established when the average life expectancy of men in North America was 28. While there have been presidents who have lived well into their eighties or beyond, setting an age limit is still a contentious issue today as life expectancy has increased.
In conclusion, while Trump’s comments about NATO have caused concern among its members and others who rely on US support for their security, Haley’s focus on age and mental capacity may be more relevant in today’s political landscape as it raises questions about qualifications for holding high office.