In-depth Debate Topics: Alliances

Over the course of the next few days I will go in-depth on some of the topics that came up at last nights debate.  

Last night was a night that many Americans, and people around the world had been waiting for, the final presidential debate between Trump and Clinton.  Now, I want to make something clear, I have my own political leanings but I’m putting those aside. What we have witnessed since the first debate began, until last night’s debate ended was nothing short of a national embarrassment. This entire debate season has been a joke. 4 years ago, when President Obama debated Governor Romney, the debates were substantive and actually allowed people to form an opinion.

It seems that this election year has become about the personalities of the candidates more than their policies. Fine, I submit, I too want a candidate who I would like to grab a beer with. However I want a president who knows how to lead and who can navigate the minefields that are domestic and international politics.

That being said, lets get into a few of the debate topics that I found most important and relevant. Topics and the rhetoric that comes with them, that can greatly effect our National security. 

First up, alliances.

“The US has kept the peace through our alliances. Donald wants to tear up our alliances. I think it makes the world safer and, frankly, it makes the US safer.” Secretary Clinton hit Trump hard here and in my mind, thinking about security, this is one of the biggest red flags we have. The United States’ position in the world was first and foremost sought out. Becoming a global superpower was not simply dropped in our laps. We literally fought for that role in the world, and alongside us were our allies. We have legally binding alliances and treaties with countless nations and organizations around the world.

One of the most appalling suggestions by Trump was that we should leave NATO, and while he didn’t call NATO out by name last night he certainly has in the past. His claims are that the US holds the burden in these treaties and other nations profit off of us. To an extent he is correct, the US supports a lot of these treaties, but he is cherry picking his facts. Yes, according to NATO total military expenditures were around $900 billion. 72% of that is supported by the US, about $650 billion. However he also conveniently forgets about Article 5 of NATO’s treaty, the collective defense clause. An attack on one member is an attack on all members. The only time this was activated was to support the US in the wake of 9/11.

Lastly, lets look at Japan as an example. According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, the US spends $5.5 billion annually on our Japanese military presence.  Mind you, Japan pays roughly $2 billion to host our 85 Military instillations around Japan. So this claim that they don’t pay their fair share is a bit absurd, if you ask me.

I am a firm believer of the notion that ‘your word is your bond.’ If we as a nation attempt to backtrack and renegotiate our alliances and treaties that we are party too, why should other nations trust us? Not to mention that these treaties and alliances are legally binding in international law and in many cases were ratified by Congress and therefore are legally binding in US law. What Mr. Trump is suggesting is unthinkable. Going against your word, is not what America stands for.