The New York Times reports: 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.
From Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul to the headquarters of NATO in Brussels and the vulnerable Baltic nations along Russia’s western border, officials and analysts said in interviews that they saw the success of Mr. Trump’s “America first” platform as a harbinger of pressure for allies to pay up or make trade concessions in return for military protection.
In many capitals, Mr. Trump’s formal and off-the-cuff foreign policy proposals — his threat to pull out of NATO; his musings about removing the United States’ nuclear umbrella over Japan and South Korea; his pledge to slap huge trade tariffs on China — are regarded with a mix of alarm and confusion. Asked on Thursday if Beijing was concerned about the prospect of a Trump presidency, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, replied, “We hope the U.S. people from all walks of life would view bilateral relations from a reasonable and objective perspective.”
Stefano Stefanini, a former representative of Italy to NATO and former diplomatic adviser to the Italian president, put it this way: “There is no Donald Trump contingency plan.” [Continue reading…]