Nothing is eternal in human history. Even those alliances between nations that in the short span of our experience seem imperishable to us have an expiration date. In a year will America announce its exit from NATO? Now we have to ask ourselves the problem.
In the latest polls, Donald Trump is ahead of Joe Biden in the direct challenge between the two. Within the Republican Party, a month before the start of the primaries, the gap it inflicts on its pursuers (Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis) remains abysmal.
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Is there a possibility that the US will leave NATO?
Anything can happen in the next eleven months, obviously including on a judicial level. However, even those who continue to consider a Trump repeat unlikely are forced to examine it as a hypothesis. This is certainly what governments around the world are doing, each from the point of view of the repercussions on their own country.
In Europe a distressing issue concerns the future of NATO. Everyone talks about it, perhaps quietly, not at an official level. NATO has guaranteed the peace and security of Europeans for three quarters of a century. It would not exist without the United States, or it would become a pale caricature.
Can it survive their exit? Donald Trump evoked this disruptive abandonment on some occasions during his first presidency, especially in conversations with his collaborators: then they managed to dissuade him.
The eventualities of Trump’s re-election
Next time, if he is re-elected, Trump intends to carry out a radical clean-up and will apply a much more generalized “spoil system” by appointing very loyal executors everywhere. In foreign policy, this scenario could lead to a Trump 2 who is much more “innovative” than the first…
Leaving NATO would mark a sensational break with the last 75 years of history. It would also close with all the globalist politics inaugurated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he led America to intervene in the Second World War to eradicate Nazi-fascism from Europe.
It would be a return to another policy, which also had a long tradition and noble ancestors. Isolationism was dominant for a long time from the founding of the United States onwards. With exceptions such as the presidency of the first Roosevelt (Theodore) and Woodrow Wilson in WWI.
But the roots of American isolationism are deep, they have defenders both on the right and on the pacifist left. Stop aid to Ukraine. Perhaps Israel and Taiwan, on which Trump has sometimes expressed himself as a hawk, would be saved.
The exit of the United States from NATO is evoked modestly and diplomatically with a linguistic shift. Since time immemorial, US presidents and Congresses have called for a more balanced “burden-sharing“.
A more balanced sharing of NATO’s financing burdens with its European allies, many of whom behave like defense parasites, happy to live safely under the American protective umbrella, but reluctant to fund adequate armed forces.
It was during Barack Obama’s time that the theme of “burden-sharing” was adopted as a formal and official commitment: all the member states of the Atlantic Alliance solemnly promised to dedicate at least 2% of their national GDP to security.
Almost no one kept that promise. Germany, Italy and many others did not maintain it even after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many Americans, not only in high places but also in public opinion, feel taken for a ride. Even more so if some of those countries that live safe from parasites are ready to criticize “US imperialism”.