By Sushil Kutty
Donald Trump as the United States President had people — countries — on both sides of the Atlantic concerned in their cocoons during his first term. Then in 2020, the so-called Jan 6 insurrection happened. Today, a poor array of conservative hopefuls for the Republican ticket, combined with his tremendous popularity, has made it easier for Trump to vie for the Republican presidential nomination, which is his for the taking as of today.
Two Indian origin Americans also tried their luck. Including Trump’s United States UN Ambassador pick Nikki Haley, who is facing her final test on February 24 in South Carolina, her home state of which she was twice Governor. The bad news is Trump leads Haley by 30 points and Nikki is not budging an inch from her stubborn and relentless intransigence — and this person was America’s No.1 UN diplomat.
That being said, the likelihood of another Donald Trump term is giving NATO — the North American Treaty Organization — the creeps. Trump looks like the most-likely candidate to win the US presidency in November this year, especially with President Joe Biden looking like he’ll fall by the wayside. And, just recently, Trump had told a head of state, “No, I would not protect you”, referring to NATO.
“Protect” to Trump translates to dollars splurged on NATO. Hark back six-seven years and remember it was the 45th President Trump who had point blank rejected fresh US funding to NATO. Today, a potential President, Donald Trump says he doesn’t care what Russia goes ahead and does and he’s talking of Ukraine’s future if he becomes the US President.
That much for Trump and NATO. If the US allies can’t/won’t fund NATO by making contributions, they must fight their wars alone and not look up to “Big Bro United States” for succour. With Donald Trump at the US helm, nobody gets a free lunch and the US will not be a sucker. No wonder Trump gets along like a house on fire with leading conservative voice Tucker Carlson whose powwow with Russian President Vladimir Putin found many ready listeners in the United States and Europe.
Having said that, the Democrats now have one more reason to reelect President Joe Biden except that there is a greater expectation of a Trump presidency coming with speculation rising as to who will be Trump’s “VP Pick”. One name which keeps bobbing up is that of businessman “Vivek Ramaswamy”, who had quit the Republican nomination race to endorse Donald Trump. However, Trump can be President for only one term this time and then — in 2028 — it will be the turn of whoever is Trump’s Vice President. And to transport an Indian-American to that level of “chance/probability” could be unacceptable to the majority of the Republican base – White Americans with the intuition they own America.
The other Indian-American in the Republican Party nomination race, Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, believes she’s a “Made-for-POTUS” candidate. But Nikki is more or less out of the reckoning after Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Haley recently invested in a new campaign bus and named it ”The Beast”, after ‘The Beast’, which happens to be the official car of the President of America.
When Donald Trump is declared the Republican nominee, as is expected anytime soon, definitely by March 15, Nikki Haley might need counseling. She’s too invested in becoming POTUS and her well-wishers fear for her sense of equanimity. One hint of disaster waiting to hit is Nikki is finding solace in spending big money.
The bottomline is, it’s not just NATO which will not like Donald Trump get the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. The Biden White House is already fuming at the thought. The Haley campaign says Trump for President is recipe for disaster. The tribe of “Republicans in Name Only” can’t take it and the mainstream media is back to Trump-bashing.
But it is the fear for NATO under a Trump presidency which transcends all the other fears. Whatever will happen to the Ukraine-Russia War? The thesis — “Russia is invading Ukraine and threatening NATO countries” will be called out and found figment. There’s growing talk in America that Trump is “more on Russia’s side than that of the NATO” but Trump arguing for European nations to “pay more” for NATO to ensure their own protection is not an unattractive proposition to millions of Americans who agree with Donald Trump that it is ridiculous for the United States to pick up the tab?
Fact is, Trump has always been accused of being “America First” and he doesn’t believe in the dribble about ‘globalism’ and the need to counter Russia with NATO aggression.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has 31 countries and an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all NATO members, a premise which President Donald Trump did not believe in and doesn’t seem to believe in even now, eight years on. Ukraine is not a NATO country and Trump makes it sound like he would like the United States also not to be a NATO country anymore than India wants to be one or is one. A reelection of Donald Trump will not all be about surprises. In many ways, it will be a continuation of his first term separated by the Biden term. (IPA Service)