According to a group of approximately 20 current and former aides and diplomats, it is anticipated that in the event of a second term for Donald Trump, he would potentially appoint individuals who are loyal to him in crucial positions within the Pentagon, State Department, and CIA.
These appointees would likely prioritize their allegiance to the President, thereby granting him greater latitude than his initial tenure and enabling the implementation of isolationist policies and personal inclinations.
The outcome would allow President Trump to enact comprehensive modifications to the United States’ position, encompassing the Ukraine conflict and trade relations with China. Additionally, as the aides and diplomats relayed, it would allow him to influence the federal entities responsible for executing and occasionally limiting foreign policy.
Throughout his term from 2017 to 2021, former President Trump encountered challenges in effectively implementing his occasionally impulsive and unpredictable strategic objectives within the United States national security apparatus.
The individual frequently expressed discontent with high-ranking authorities who exhibited a deliberate pace, deferred action indefinitely or dissuaded him from pursuing specific initiatives. In his memoir, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper disclosed that he expressed reservations on two occasions regarding former President Trump’s proposition of conducting missile strikes against criminal organizations in Mexico, a nation of significant economic importance as the United States’ largest trading partner.
As stated by Robert O’Brien, the final and fourth national security adviser to President Trump, it was acknowledged that personnel plays a significant role in shaping policy. During the initial phase of the administration, a notable number of individuals exhibited a bias toward pursuing their policy agendas rather than aligning with the policies espoused by the president.
Based on statements made by current and former aides, the presence of a more significant number of individuals loyal to Trump would enable him to expedite and enhance the implementation of his foreign policy objectives, surpassing the efficiency achieved during his previous tenure in office.
One of the proposals put forth by President Trump during his campaign this year involves the potential deployment of U.S. Special Forces to address the issue of Mexican cartels. It is worth noting that such a course of action is unlikely to receive the approval of the Mexican government.
In the event of a potential return to power, aides have suggested that Trump would promptly reduce protection aid to the continent and further diminish economic relations with China.
Mr. O’Brien, a prominent foreign policy adviser to President Trump with regular access to him, has expressed the possibility of implementing trade barriers on NATO countries in the event of their failure to fulfill their defense expenditure obligations, which require a minimum of 2% of their total domestic product. This policy consideration is among the various options for President Trump during a potential second term.
In contrast to the period preceding his 2016 election, it has been observed that President Trump has actively fostered a group of individuals with whom he engages in regular communication. These individuals possess substantial expertise in foreign policy matters and have earned the personal trust of the President, as reported by four sources familiar with their interactions.
The advisers above include John Ratcliffe, the former Director of National Intelligence during the Trump administration; Richard Grenell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; and Kash Patel, a former Trump administration staff member who served in various capacities within the intelligence and defense sectors.
The policies espoused by these informal advisers exhibit some variation, yet a prevailing trend among them is their vocal advocacy for former President Trump after he departed office. Furthermore, they have expressed apprehensions regarding the financial burden the United States bears in its support of both NATO and Ukraine.
A version of the End of the World
The current state of the Republican executive selection race indicates that Donald Trump holds a significant advantage in terms of support and momentum. Suppose he secures the Republican nomination and emerges victorious against Democratic President Joe Biden in November.
In that case, it is anticipated by electricity and previous aides that a potentially heightened Trump will emerge. This revised iteration suggests that he will possess an increased understanding of power dynamics, enabling him to navigate domestic and international spheres effectively.
The potential outcome of a second term under the Trump administration has prompted a sense of urgency among international investors, leading to a heightened demand for comprehensive insights and analysis. The incumbent, Donald Trump, has provided limited insights into his prospective foreign policy agenda for his potential future tenure. His statements have primarily consisted of overarching assertions, such as his intention to resolve the Ukraine conflict within a 24-hour timeframe.
According to statements provided by eight European diplomats in an interview with Reuters, uncertainties exist regarding President Trump’s willingness to uphold the United States’ obligation to safeguard NATO allies. Furthermore, there are significant concerns that he may terminate assistance to Ukraine amidst its ongoing conflict with Russia.
A diplomatic official from Northern Europe stationed in Washington, who requested anonymity due to the delicate nature of the matter, disclosed that they and their fellow diplomats maintained ongoing communication with aides of former President Trump after he departed from the White House in 2021.
According to the diplomat, the subsequent narrative unfolded: “It was evident that our level of preparedness, particularly in governance, fell short of expectations. Consequently, we must adopt a different approach in future endeavors.” Upon assuming the responsibilities of the Oval Office in 2017, the individuals in question needed more clarity regarding the appropriate course of action to pursue. However, it is doubtful that such an occurrence will be repeated.
The diplomat, representing a NATO member country, and another diplomat stationed in Washington have communicated to their home capitals through diplomatic cables, outlining a potential “doomsday option.”
In the aforementioned hypothetical scenario, diplomats have conveyed through cables that multiple post-election hypotheses exist. These hypotheses suggest President Trump fulfills his commitment to dismantle specific bureaucratic components and actively pursue political adversaries. Consequently, this course of action will likely undermine the robustness of America’s system of checks and balances.
One must explain their capital. The diplomat conveyed the perspective of his mission, stating that in the event of President Biden’s re-election, there is a possibility of positive developments as the United States continues to engage in self-rehabilitation within the realm of American politics.
The subsequent individual in question is President Donald Trump, who can be characterized as a somewhat tempered iteration of his initial term, albeit with certain assertive undertones. Furthermore, an alternative course of action exists, commonly called the doomsday option.
The Pullout of NATO? New War on Trade
In the context of a potential second term, President Trump has expressed his commitment to terminating China’s most-favored trading nation status. This designation typically facilitates the reduction of trade barriers between nations. Additionally, he has articulated his intention to encourage European countries to augment their defense expenditures.
The ongoing determination of the Trump administration to provide crucial support to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia and its unwavering dedication to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) hold significant significance for European diplomats stationed in Washington who are actively engaged in strategic preparations.
According to a diplomat hailing from a Baltic state, rumors have been circulating about a potential inclination on his part to disengage the United States from NATO or withdraw from Europe. While acknowledging the inherent concern associated with such conjectures, it is essential to note that panic is not prevailing among us.
In light of concerns surrounding the future trajectory of NATO, several diplomats interviewed for this article have asserted that the exertion of pressure by President Trump throughout his initial term resulted in heightened defense expenditure levels.
According to John Bolton, the former national security adviser to President Trump, who has subsequently emerged as a prominent detractor of the former President, he believes that Trump would have opted for the withdrawal from NATO.
The potential ramifications of such a decision cannot be understated, particularly for European nations that have long relied on the collective security guarantee provided by the alliance for almost 75 years.
Three additional individuals who previously held positions within the Trump administration, two of whom maintain ongoing communication with the former President, expressed a diminished likelihood of such an outcome, with one individual asserting that the potential consequences in terms of domestic political repercussions would likely render it an unwise course of action.
It has been reported that Finnish Ambassador Mikko Hautala, stationed in Washington, has directly communicated with President Trump on multiple occasions, per sources familiar with the matter, as The New York Times initially disclosed.
The focal point of those discussions revolved around the NATO accession process in Finland. Hautala sought to ensure President Trump was provided with precise and comprehensive insights regarding Finland’s contributions to the alliance and the advantageous outcomes of Finland’s inclusion in the United States, as conveyed by an individual familiar with the matter.