Amidst an unprecedented global crisis, President Donald Trump is questioning the United States’ commitments 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 insisted that NATO members need to pay their debts and said that when he was president, the US 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.
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, including the largest, did not comply with this agreement. During his presidency, Trump focused on this matter and showed minimal interest in the actual security of NATO.
Trump’s announcement has worried countries along the possible front line 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 putting the question of age and mental capacity at the center of her election campaign. Although the polls continue to put 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. This condition was established when life expectancy was much lower than it is today, but there have been many presidents who have reached extreme old age despite this condition being met during their presidencies. Today, life expectancy has increased, and there are ongoing debates about whether it is appropriate for someone in their late seventies or eighties to hold such a high office.
In conclusion, while Trump may believe that NATO members need to pay their debts before receiving assistance from America during times of crisis