Amidst an unprecedented global crisis, the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, has raised doubts about America’s commitment to its allies. In a recent speech, he admitted that when he was in office, 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 said that as president, he would not lift a finger to defend their countries if they were attacked by Russia. This has caused concern among NATO members and others who rely on US support for their security.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 as a collective defense agreement. Trump’s insistence that NATO members “owe money” is based on a misunderstanding. Although NATO countries agreed to devote at least 2% of their gross domestic product to their defense 18 years ago, most countries did not comply with this agreement. During his presidency, Trump focused solely on this matter and showed little interest in the actual security of NATO.
Trump’s announcement has sparked concerns among countries along the possible frontline with Russia and America’s military and political partners from Northeast Asia to the South Pacific. This explicit announcement violates the US’s signed international obligations.
Meanwhile, Trump’s opponent in the Republican primaries, Nikki Haley, is now placing age and mental capacity at the center of her election campaign. While polls continue to show her far behind Trump, she is highlighting the age and mental capacity of both Trump and Joe Biden. The constitution requires a presidential candidate to be at least 35 years old – a qualification that was established when life expectancy was significantly lower than it is today. The question of whether age should be a qualification for presidency continues to be highly debated.