US Elections 2016

From Nato to WTO, Trump challenges current world order

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Toughening immigration checks for the French and Germans, questioning Nato obligations and hinting at an exit from the World Trade Organisation (WTO): Mr Donald Trump has cast further doubt on US alliances and commitments around the world.

In his first wide-ranging interview on Sunday since he was crowned the Republican Party's White House nominee, the billionaire and political novice spelt out his stance on a slew of foreign policy, international trade and national security issues.

If he wins in November, he told NBC's Meet The Press, France and other nations hit by recent terror attacks would be subjected to "extreme" immigration checks as a deterrent to attacks on US soil.

In his own words 

EUROPEAN UNION

They got together, all of these countries got together so they could beat the United States.

NATO

Now, a country gets invaded. They haven't paid. Everyone said, 'Oh, but we have a treaty.' We have countries within Nato taking advantage of us.

WTO

World Trade Organisation is a disaster.

Mr Trump recently shifted from calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States to advocating freezing flows from what he calls countries "compromised by terrorism". "We have problems in Germany and we have problems in France," he said, arguing that in his view the French "have totally been" compromised by deadly Islamist attacks in Nice and last year in Paris.

Beyond questioning free travel from Europe to the US, Mr Trump put forward a vision of Europe as an economic competitor to be bested at all costs.

Asked, in relation to the British vote to leave the European Union, whether a fractured Europe was good for America, he equivocated.

"No, no - but we're spending a lot of money in Europe," he said. "Don't forget, Europe got together, why primarily did they get together? To beat the United States when it comes to making money. In other words, on trade."

In the interview, he put forward a plan for punitive import taxes of up to 30 per cent on firms that move manufacturing activities abroad.

When show host Chuck Todd objected that such plans would be challenged at the WTO, he responded: "Doesn't matter. We'll renegotiate or pull out. These trade deals are a disaster, Chuck. World Trade Organisation is a disaster."

Mr Trump doubled down on a recent warning that the US might not meet its mutual defence obligations in Nato under his presidency - if he deemed that a member state was not pulling its weight financially.

He said his demands for a review of defence spending by US allies would go beyond Nato. "We take care of Japan. We take care of Germany and South Korea and Saudi Arabia and we lose on everything," he said. "We can no longer be the stupid country."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2016, with the headline 'From Nato to WTO, Trump challenges current world order'. Print Edition | Subscribe