Comment: If Trump wins, everything is at stake

Comment: If Trump wins, everything is at stake

  • Per Olaf Odegaard
    Per Olaf Odegaard

    Commentator at VG. Former foreign journalist and correspondent for VG in the USA. He writes mostly about international affairs.

Illustration: Morten Morland

The second season of “Trump in the White House” will be very different from the first. For Europe, the consequences will be much greater and worse.


iconThis is a comment. The comment expresses the writer’s position

Trump’s second term will be less chaotic than his first term. More targeted. And much more terrifying.

First and foremost for the Americans, but second for the United States’ many allies.

The first thing that could happen is for Trump to suddenly cut off aid to Ukraine.

He said he wanted to stop the “endless flow of American tax money” to Ukraine.

Trump says in his election campaign that the war will end within one day when he becomes president. He did not say how this would be done.

But there is no doubt that the prospect of a radical reform of US policy toward Ukraine is greeted with high expectations in the Kremlin.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has long turned into a war of endurance. Bloody battles are taking place, but without major movements along the long front line. Trump’s promises give Putin a strong incentive to persevere.

It is important for the Kremlin to maintain control over the occupied Ukrainian territories until the US presidential elections.

Could Win: Donald Trump is the favorite to become the Republican presidential nominee.  Here at a campaign rally in New Hampshire on November 11th.

The United States has by far been the most important military and financial contributor to Ukraine’s defense struggle. Joe Biden led the Western coalition that confronted Russian aggression and showed solidarity with Ukraine. NATO countries have promised that they will help Ukraine, as long as necessary.

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But a growing number of Republican voters and representatives will no longer pay the costs of defending Ukraine. In Congress, they are trying to block new support packages for Kiev.

If Ukraine is to be able to resist Russian aggression, European countries may soon bear the entire financial burden. European NATO countries have increased their defense budgets and many are investing more in weapons production. But without the United States, this is not enough.

In Russia, Putin has succeeded in creating a war economy. If Ukraine is to win, it will need Western weapons and other support for a long time. But time is on Putin’s side.

On the talk in full swing: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in conversation at the APEC summit in Vietnam in 2017.

If Trump is elected, it will be a joke not just to support Ukraine, but perhaps also to the Western defense alliance.

In his first term, Trump described NATO as obsolete. He toyed with the idea of ​​taking the United States out of NATO.

Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, said that Trump will “almost certainly” withdraw the United States from NATO in a new presidential term.

Bolton became a vocal critic of his former boss, like many of those who then worked in the White House.

There is no doubt that Trump will intensify his demands on allies. He will again threaten to leave NATO if the allies do not spend more on defence.

More problematically, Trump appears open to reconsidering NATO’s purpose and mission.

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A member of the former Trump administration told Rolling Stone that Trump has repeatedly said he would not start World War III by defending countries he considers unimportant. He is said to have listed several NATO member states that he believes most Americans have never heard of.

The cornerstone of NATO is Article 5, which states that any attack against one member state is an attack against all. This of course applies to all members, including countries that Trump considers insignificant.

NATO would not exist without the United States and Article V of the Atlantic Treaty.

US Aid: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on November 20.

Europe must bear greater responsibility for security policy, regardless of who Americans elect as president.

After Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO countries agreed that at least 2% of their gross domestic product should be spent on defence. This happened two years before Trump was elected.

Only one in three Member States will be able to achieve this target this year. Norway is far behind at 1.6 percent, although the government has a long-term plan to reach 2 percent.

The problem is that even 2% will not be enough to strengthen our defenses and those of the Alliance, in addition to providing assistance to Ukraine. At least not without the United States.

Many countries should follow suit, such as Poland, Finland and the Baltic states, which spend more than 2% on defence.

Poland is the best in the NATO category at 4% of GDP, much higher than the United States. These countries have historical experience, which means they understand better than others the threat posed by an authoritarian and aggressive Russia.

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In the foreground: Ukrainian soldiers take a break near the front line in Bakhmut, Donetsk, on November 18.

Donald Trump admires authoritarian leaders. Trump has no ideological convictions. He is interested in what serves him.

The election campaign is all about him, with endless complaints about losing the election and that he will be the victim of an ancient witch hunt.

Both Republican and Democratic presidents over 75 years have understood how important transatlantic security is, whether for Europe or North America.

But Trump does not understand the value of the global order that the United States led to build in the first years after the war.

In his first term, Trump constantly questioned why the United States had not withdrawn from NATO. At that time there were adults in the room who spoke out against him.

If Trump gets another term, the positions will be filled by people whose primary qualifications are that they support him in everything. It is the absence of critical voices that is most frightening.

Out of the way: Donald Trump is making his way to a seat at the table at the 2018 NATO summit.

Trump cares more about internal enemies than external enemies.

– Trump said in a speech on the occasion of Veterans Day: The threat from external forces is much less ferocious, dangerous, and dangerous than the threat from within.

He referred to political opponents in the United States as “pests.” Everyone knows what to do with pests. Trump wants to become president to take revenge on those who stood against him. It does not recognize election results that conflict with it, and it systematically works to undermine confidence in democratic institutions.

America is back, said Joe Biden when he came to Europe in the summer of 2021. If Trump returns, the world’s liberal democracies will be without a unified leader. Protectionism, isolationism, and political vermin hunting are not qualified to lead the free world.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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