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Monday, February 6th, 2023

‘Going it alone is not an option’

Can a man who is famous for his outbursts and temperament be trusted with the U.S. nuclear codes. Courtesy: ABC/Q&A

Chinese magazine Global People covers the Trump victory that sent shockwaves around the world. Picture: AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE.

THE head of the world’s most powerful military alliance has warned President-elect Donald Trump that “going it alone is not an option” amid rampant speculation over what his new role as Commander-in-Chief will mean for global security.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg described the near seven-decade old alliance between the US and European allies as the “bedrock of peace, freedom and prosperity in Europe,” responsible for protecting nearly one billion people.

“We face the greatest challenges to our security in a generation. This is no time to question the value of the partnership between Europe and the United States,” he wrote in The Observer, following the election of the Republican as President.

“In the last few years we have seen a dramatic deterioration of our security, with a more assertive Russia and turmoil across North Africa and the Middle East. NATO allies have responded together.

“This is deterrence, not aggression. We do not seek to provoke a conflict, but to prevent a conflict …. Our response is defensive and proportionate. But it sends a clear and unmistakeable message: an attack against one will be met by a response from all.”

The statement comes as European Defence Ministers met in Brussels to establish new plans for defensive co-operation on Turkey, Syria and Libya amid calls to strengthen efforts for a European Army.

EU Foreign Affairs and Security Representative Federica Mogherini said ahead of the meeting the goal was to make European defence “more credible” than it is currently.

“There is a need to strengthen our security profile,” she said. “We have the potential, we have the instruments, we have the need to go in that direction.

“It’s not about hypothetical work or theoretical work that might or might not happen 50 years from now. It’s about doing concrete things as of tomorrow, together.”

Donald Trump has chosen Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff. Picture: AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSONSource:AFP

The global security community has been thrown into turmoil by the surprise election victory of the Republican candidate who has refused to be categorised on a number of critical issues.

During the campaign he shocked NATO allies by suggesting those who did not meet their two per cent spending targets could not rely on the US coming to their aid.

The comments, combined with his refusal to outline detailed strategy on how to defeat the Islamic State and resolve the crisis in Syria — as well as a seemingly short temper — fuelled doubts about his ability to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful military force.

Ahead of the election, leaders including UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and US President Barack Obama branded him “unfit” for the job. President Obama called him “uniquely unqualified” and “temperamentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief”.

It’s something White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the President had not changed his views on since the election result.

“The President’s views haven’t changed. He stands by what he said on the campaign trail. He had an opportunity to make his argument. He made that argument vigorously. He made that argument in states all across the country,” Mr Earnest said last week following the pair’s first meeting in the White House.

“But the American people decided. The election is over. The President didn’t get to choose his successor; the American people did. And they’ve chosen President-elect Trump. And President Obama is determined to preside over a transition that gives the incoming President the opportunity to get a running start.”

Cheers to that. President Putin is happy about the election victory for Donald Trump. Picture: Sergei Karpukhin/Pool photo via AP.Source:AP

Exactly what President-elect Trump’s attitude to NATO will be is particularly pertinent in light of an increasingly aggressive Russia which has been building up forces on the border with EU nations. It’s also a critical question for the UK, who will soon find themselves cut out of any plans Europe has to forge ahead with their own army in a post-Brexit world.

On Sunday, UK Defence Staff Chief Sir Stuart Peach denied the UK could find itself “dangling unhappily” between Europe and an isolationist America. He said the UK would continue to push for other countries to meet their two per cent of GDP spending targets and remain the “cornerstone” of the alliance in Europe.

The Royal United Services Institute’s director of military sciences Elizabeth Quintana said while Trump’s previous statements have been taken as a sign of isolationism which could be bad for global security — that is not necessarily the case.

“He is certainly prepared to think the unthinkable and say the unsayable,” she said. “However, much of what he has said on the cost of NATO, on concerns over the Iran nuclear deal and on the number of US military personnel overseas has already been stated by senior US military and Department of Defense officials in the past.

“And he may be right. We should not collectively risk a Third World War because certain nations — particularly those bordering Russia — can’t even commit to put in place the most basic of defences. Germany, too, will find Trump in no mood for compromise, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s commitments earlier this month to work towards meeting the two per cent target.”

Vouching for the successor he never imagined having, President Obama today sought to reassure an anxious nation and world that Mr Trump would maintain America’s alliances and its status as the “indispensable nation”.

Relationships and policies go beyond presidents, he said, adding that military officials, diplomats and intelligence officers would cooperate with their foreign counterparts as before.

In his White House meeting with Trump last week, Mr Obama said the Republican “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships” including “strong and robust NATO” partnerships.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is a “deal maker” whose presidency could be good for Britain and Europe.