Donald Trump has made many comments about American foreign policy, and US allies have taken notice and it’s already hurting American alliances.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has said he is open to talking to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and insisted that countries like South Korea and Japan need to pay the US for security.
Trump went one step further and suggested that South Korea and Japan should obtain nuclear weapons to stop threats from North Korea and China.
“South Koreans have not been able to figure out what Donald Trump really intends to do regarding South Korea, but he’s issued a number of statements,” David Straub, the associate director of the Korea Program at Stanford University, told Business Insider.
“All the statements made about the Korean Peninsula have deeply concerned the people and I think the government of South Korea because they make no sense to South Koreans. They don’t fit into the context of any known American analysis of the situation on the Korean Peninsula or any existing American policy concept toward the Korean Peninsula.”
Experts worry that such troubling statements could force American allies to hedge their policies away from the country.
Even more worrisome is an analysis that suggests South Korea could pivot its alliances towards China as leaders in the country lose their faith in an alliance with the United States.
“Every time you have something like the Wall Street financial crisis or a political campaign such as we have now, it tends to make South Koreans think they should be more on the side of the Chinese,” Straub explains.
Trump has already angered leaders in South America with his anti-Mexico stance and his demand that Mexico pays to build a wall between the country and the United States.
The Wall Street Journal believes even a Donald Trump loss won’t matter. The publication writes:
“Alarmed by Donald J. Trump’s grip on the Republican presidential nomination, world leaders are wrestling with the possibility that, even if he loses the general election, his ascent reflects a strain of American public opinion that could profoundly reshape the way the United States addresses security alliances and trade.”
Allies from Belgium and Tokyo to Seoul and even NATO are worried that America’s policy could change to “place pressure for allies to pay up or make trade concessions in return for military protection,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
There is already some pressure. In Europe last month, Mr. Obama continues to push for America’s allies to live up to commitments to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, a benchmark that few have hit.
If you need truth of a troubling trend, a North Korean state media website on Tuesday published an op-ed praising Donald Trump, who said two weeks ago he would be willing to speak directly to Pyongyang’s young leader, Kim Jong Un.
Writing in DPRK Today, a self-described Chinese North Korean scholar named Han Yong Mook called the presumptive Republican nominee “wise” and a “far-sighted presidential candidate.”
When North Korea is supporting a possible US President, we know international policy is at a precipice of something potentially very scary.