Dr Trevor McCrisken on US election latest: Age concerns and NATO's financial commitments
The current discourse surrounding NATO and its financial commitments, as recounted by former President Trump, reflects a reassertion of his previous stances during his first term as US president.
Trump's narrative revolves around pressuring NATO allies to increase military spending, warning that failure to meet a 2% GDP defence expenditure would jeopardize the US commitment to NATO's collective defence assurances. This tactic, once wielded as a pressure mechanism, now resurfaces as a campaign strategy promising to force European allies to pay their share of the continent's defence burden.
Former Ambassador and Republican contender Nikki Haley's critical stance on Trump's policies underscores a divergence within the Republican Party, particularly regarding NATO commitments and perceived concessions to Russia. Haley, aligning more with sentiments shared by Biden, emphasizes the potential risks associated with a Trump presidency, highlighting concerns over Russian influence and the destabilizing effect on NATO allies and Ukraine.
Trump's assertion that certain geopolitical events, such as the conflict in Ukraine, would have been handled differently under his leadership aims to showcase his potential for a diplomatic resolution. However, such claims are subject to scrutiny, with analysts suggesting they may advantage Russia, with Putin expecting a better deal under a Trump presidency, while complicating the ongoing support for Ukraine.
The issue of age and cognitive abilities has also emerged as a major focal point in the campaign over the last few days, with both Trump and Biden facing scrutiny over their mental acuity. A Trump-appointed Special Counsel characterised Biden as a 'well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory' in a report that otherwise exonerated him of wrongdoing for taking home classified files after being Obama's Vice President. The comments add to voter worries over Biden's cognitive fitness. Similarly, concerns about Trump's age and memory are prevalent, with his opponents highlighting instances of forgetfulness and examples of him mixing up people's names and countries.
Interestingly, public opinion appears more concerned by Biden's age, despite Trump being just three and a half years younger. Overall, these narratives underscore the intricate interplay between foreign policy, domestic concerns, and personal attributes within the electoral arena, shaping the discourse leading up to the forthcoming election.