Amidst a global crisis, former President Donald Trump has sparked concern among allies with his questioning of America’s commitment to its security. In a recent speech, he revealed 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 stated that when he was president, the US would not lift a finger to defend them if they were attacked by Russia. This revelation has caused alarm 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 insistence 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 now 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 Trump and Biden. The constitution requires a presidential candidate to be at least 35 years old. This condition was established when life expectancy in North America was much lower than it is today. While there have been presidents who reached extreme old age, they were a tiny minority. Today, life expectancy has increased significantly, and the question of whether a candidate should be at least 70 or even older is highly debated as a qualification for the presidency.