Trump v Clinton on Foreign Policy
Sad that only foreign papers are beginning to compare the candidates on specific issues, while US media focuses on horse race analysis and sensationalism. Trump is for a vague fairyland form of isolationism that sounds good in a stump speech but would break down in practice, while Clinton is not for barriers - how that translates to the rest of her foreign policy isn’t quite known yet as she keeps those cards obscured for now.
Trump thinks the US foots too much of the bill for Nato and that other allies should spend more on their own protection and even defend themselves with nuclear weapons, if necessary in the case of Japan and South Korea.
“Of course they should pick up all the expense. Why are we paying for this?” Mr Trump said again this week on American television. His comments were widely reported in Japan with one of the biggest newspapers, Asahi Shimbun, saying “Triumphant Trump takes most of Japan by surprise as well”
Japan spends $1.7bn in direct support for the American military bases. The US is set to spend $5.5bn in 2016 to maintain its military bases there. But the cost of returning American troops based Japan or South Korea back to the US would be even bigger. Mr Trump also misses the ways in which America benefits from these alliances: the military presence underwrites the global system, helping to secure shipping lanes for example, the freedom of which is essential for global commerce.