Expert: Trump’s statements about the spending of NATO member states are part of his pre-election campaign

Former US President Donald Trump’s statements about not providing assistance to NATO members in the event of a Russian attack are part of Trump’s pre-election campaign, which is aimed primarily at the US public, Mārtiņš Hiršs, doctor of political science, researcher of disinformation, said in a conversation with the LETA agency.

Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in the fall US presidential election, said on Saturday that he would not defend NATO members who do not spend enough on defense.

Hirsch revealed that such loud statements are nothing new in Trump’s rhetoric. “During the last presidency, during the pre-election campaign, and already at the end of the eighties, Trump has said that the allies of the United States are not reliable, that they are cheating the United States, that the United States should do everything itself,” the researcher admitted.

“Personally, it seems to me that Trump has no strategic vision of geopolitics and his first priority is to talk to his electorate, and this is what he systematically does, [..] such statements are definitely part of his pre-election campaign,” the researcher admitted.

But at the same time, these statements belong to Trump’s central worldviews, the way he treats the rest of the world. “His management style is not characteristic of a democratic leader, and of course it does not work well with other European countries,” assessed the expert. He believes that Trump had previously failed to intimidate the leaders of other Western countries – his aggressive, odious policy did not bring results either during the previous presidency, nor will it most likely bring results in the future, so it is likely that the current statements are aimed at domestic policy, but they are also transferred to foreign policy, because these are his basic worldviews of how the world works.

However, Hirsch noted that if Trump is re-elected, there is a risk that he will have learned how to govern the United States, explaining that at the end of the previous presidency, Trump managed to implement his domestic and foreign policy course, replacing those who disagreed with him with people loyal to him. .

The researcher recalled that one of Trump’s closest advisers, his first national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned a month after being in office because a secret service investigation revealed that he had secretly met with the Russian ambassador, is a pro-Kremlin person.

“Trump has very often said and done things that are pleasing and beneficial to Russia. He criticizes the closest allies widely and at length, looking good as the leader of North Korea, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, dictators, so Trump’s presidency, neither before nor potentially the next one, is not good and beneficial for either Europe or the Baltic states,” said the researcher.

In response to the question whether the role of the United States in NATO will change in the event of Trump’s victory, Hirsch said that it is not so simple – even seven years ago, when Trump first became the president of the United States, he was critical of NATO and the Baltic states, but the defense budget for our region adopted by the US Congress, which already in 2014 began to increase the budget for this region, Poland, as well as other countries close to Russia. This budget was also increased during Trump’s presidency. “Therefore, it is not the case that everything will change automatically when Trump becomes president, but Trump’s presidency probably does not promise us anything good,” revealed Hirsch.

The researcher also pointed out that such statements by Trump could not encourage Republicans not to choose Trump as their candidate. “Trump has changed the Republican Party, made it much more radical and pro-Kremlin. There are also polls that show that during the Trump presidency, the number of people, Republicans, who say Russia is an ally has increased significantly,” the researcher revealed.

Hirsch added that we can also observe this during the last six months, when the US Congress has not been able to accept an aid package for Ukraine, because the radical Republicans have blocked its further progress.

LETA already reported that Trump, who is the most likely candidate of the Republican Party in the upcoming presidential elections in the fall, announced on Saturday that he would encourage Russia to attack a NATO member state that does not allocate enough funds to its defense.

The NATO treaty requires member states to defend any country in the bloc that is attacked.

Alliance countries have committed to allocating no less than 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to defense, but most NATO members allocate less to military spending.

A White House spokesman said Saturday that the former president was “encouraging murderous regimes to invade our closest allies [valstīs]”, and called these statements by Trump “terrible and shocking”.

He added that what Trump said “threatens America’s national security, global stability and our domestic economy.”

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