Trump’s Comments Wakes-Up Europe – OpEd


Former US President Donald Trump in a campaign rally in South Carolina, had told the crowd that, “NATO was busted until I came along, I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer andhe would ‘Encourage’ the Russians…”

His comments sent a chill across Europe, alarming NATO’s European members scared about the prospect of a second Donald Trump term as a President. Many allies fear a potential second presidency might feature an unhinged and much bolder Trump than during his first tenure. 

Trump’s remarks have come at a very critical time for the alliance, with some allies openly warning about a potential escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine, while a new US aid package is stalled, and Ukraine is struggling to for weapons and ammunition supplies. Trump’s comments have already inflicted damage to the alliance. There is a major political debate in the US about continued aid, and it seems like in some ways unprecedentedly, there is a lot of disagreement from Republicans. This factor will hold sway if Trump returns about whether the US should continue to fund it. 

Fall Out for EU Members, a Wake-Up Call

European Allies recognize the need for their own defense. Regardless of the next US president, efforts are underway to enhance European military capabilities and develop a more unified strategic approach to ensure EU collective defense. The importance of burden sharing, and increased defense investment is emphasized to maintain a strong role against in view of the Ukraine’s invasion by Russia.

EU countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Canada have signed agreements with Ukraine to provide long-term military assistance and help integrate it into the EU and NATO eventually. The EU has already agreed on a $54-billion package of loans and grants to Ukraine for the next four years. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg responded in a statement; “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.” As president, Trump had threatened to withdraw from NATO many times. He warned he would make Europeans pay for America’s protection and repeatedly threw into doubt the US commitment to the core of the alliance — a promise enshrined in Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty providing that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” Whereas Trump had once said that NATO basically served no purpose.

NATO members defense spending. Trump’s comment was referring to the fact that a significant number of NATO member states are still spending less than 2 percent of their GDP a goal agreed at a NATO summit in Wales in 2014.Germany is expected to meet the target this year for the very first time in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. That is why diplomats and experts in Brussels agree that Trump does have a point when it comes to the urgent need for Europeans to invest more in their collective defense. 

Governments across the continent now seem to have woken up and understand that European allies need do more for their own defense regardless of the US support. Those efforts are at the heart of the contingency plans European allies are working on behind the scenes, focusing on enhanced military capabilities and a more unified strategic approach.

Former President Trump often tends to make off the cuff statements, and when he does, it’s hard to really understand his true position but whatever he may ultimately be having in his mind. However, the result is getting European countries on a common platform and galvanizing them to realise the need to prioritize their own defense, regardless of the US support. European allies have said we have to increase our ability to work together without the Americans. We can’t count on the US under Trump or under a different presidency. On the other hand, it will also make Europe more cohesive, and when EU member countries start spending more money on defense. In light of former President Trump’s comments about NATO, it’s not unreasonable to think that a second Trump presidency might shake up US foreign policy dynamics among allies and enemies alike and that could have cascading effects.

US Pulling out of NATO. Even if Trump wins, he will not find it easy to pull the US out of NATO in view of a recent amendment to the annual defence policy Bill which President Biden signed into law last year, it requires a two-third vote in the Senate or an Act of Congress for such a drastic step. Europe has not invested enough in the new armaments for decades, relying on the US military cover. 

Appears a Triumph return of Trump

recent CBS News poll found that 65% of Americans remember the economy under former President Donald Trump as being good, compared with 38% giving the current economy under President Joe Biden the same positive assessment. Four major national polls released this week found Trump ahead of Biden, with Trump’s lead ranging from 2 to 5 points among registered voters.

While the race is tight and the road to November is long, Trump appears to have the upper hand for now. And it’s more than overall favorability ratings where he’s pulling ahead. Age is a concern for the voters, new poll finds many Americans feel Trump and Biden (81 years) are both too old to be president for another term. This will be the contest of the oldest candidates in the American history for the President of America. If Trump returns the Ukraine-Russia war may come to an early end and in case Biden continues the Ukraine-Russia war is likely to further drag on. 

In conclusion to the former US President Donald Trump’s recent comments the immediate outcome is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Trump’s rhetoric threats and the prospect of a second Trump presidency provides a strong impetus on enhanced European cooperation and integration with respect to defense and security. The EU has been sensitized into creating a joint financing mechanism to fund armaments to Ukraine. The Europeans are stronger overall in their commitment to continuing to support Ukraine and to fight back against this kind of Russian revisionism. They also, again, are really committed to spending on their own defense. European arms production is now increasing. But the American military industrial complex Contractors will be unhappy of these developments as their profits will go down.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

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