In his recent “Presidential” foreign policy speech, Donald Trump offered the notion that the US ought to disengage from NATO and encourage countries like South Korea, Japan, and Germany to rearm and go nuclear. Such a statement ought to be grounds for disqualification for anyone seeking to become President. It displays a complete lack of foreign policy experience and a dangerous misunderstanding of history.
Europe, for whose protection the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, has a long history of wars. War was the preferred means to settle disagreements or to increase the national wealth as the aggressor. While many lay blame at royal family feuding, it remains the case that European countries lack diversity (largely because that’s what makes the France french, Italy italian, and Germany german).
Europe as a whole is diverse but the nations that make it up are not. Dissolve NATO and all that remains is the shaky European Union. How do you think Germany and France would resolve a serious conflict?
But allowing or even encouraging Japan, South Korea, and Germany to go nuclear is asking for trouble. The majority of citizens in those countries are wonderful, intelligent, and kind people. So what’s the issue?
Japan, South Korea, and Germany have all be run in the past by feudal or authoritarian governments. The fear is they could return to those dark days under the right conditions.
The rise of a populous leader who invokes nationalistic themes could once again take control. This type of leader will appeal to the masses that he/she knows what’s best and can turn away those “others” who are trying to bring ruin to Japan, South Korea, or Germany. Remember your history? Or better yet, does this sound familiar to the 2016 Presidential race?
Minority leaders who gain control by promises of grander times begin their leadership time with a heavy burden. What will they do if the economy doesn’t improve? What will they tell the populous?
Most of these leaders double down and buy time by saying their country is on the right path. A little more time and maybe some harder measures, they say, will bring the desired results.
Suspension of lawful rule soon follows with a declared “State of Emergency” in which the despot rules by decree is the end state.
While Japan, South Korea, and Germany’s sovereignty allows each of the countries to rearm as their citizens wish, economics, technology, and a painful memory of World War II have tempered any nationalistic tendencies. For Donald Trump to suggest a return to the past is inexcusable for a commander in chief and future world leader.