April 21, 2024

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Trump brings the 'fear factor' to diplomacy

Trump brings the 'fear factor' to diplomacy

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WASHINGTON — House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, on Friday described a game plan to protect America's foreign alliances if former President Donald Trump wins in November.

“We're going back to the old playbook that we followed in the previous administration… bringing in people like me or (South Carolina Republican Sen.) Lindsey Graham,” he told reporters during a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. Ear to make sure he's not rogue.

Last weekend, Trump dismayed international allies when he said at a campaign rally that he would “embolden” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” if North American Treaty Organization allies did not pay enough for collective defense capabilities. The comments drew immediate blowback from foreign leaders, members of Congress from both parties, and President Joe Biden, who said the comments were “un-American” and “dangerous,” though many Republicans took issue with the spending concerns and defended the comments. Trump's advisers argued he didn't really mean it.

McCaul is a defense hawk who regularly advocates for America's continued engagement on the world stage, in contrast to the increasingly isolationist wing of his party often embodied by Trump.

But he said the former president's shooting-from-the-hip approach was not necessarily a bad thing: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was a “valid point” that more countries needed to pay money into the defense fund and It is expected that more than half of Member States will achieve this target this year.

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“There's a fear factor, there's an unpredictability factor with Trump,” McCaul said. “You don't know what he'll do.”

Donald Trump pressures Congress over aid to Ukraine

US interference in international affairs is under scrutiny as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to wage war in Ukraine and as Congress considers sending additional aid to the country.

The potential Republican nominee for president wields enormous influence over the Republican Party amid the debate, and is actively involved in influencing policy.

Trump has publicly opposed additional funding for Ukraine, recently proposing that aid be approved only as a loan, rather than outright cash – although much of the funding earmarked for Ukraine in the foreign aid package would actually go to US government contractors rather than being sent abroad. .

The ripple effects have been clear: Much of the Republican conference also opposes additional aid to Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson said that his chamber would not vote on the aid package approved by the Senate without provisions related to the borders. Democrats and a number of moderate members are exploring potential solutions to quickly expedite aid that Ukraine says is urgently needed.

McCaul – a strong advocate of additional aid to Ukraine – said he discussed changes to the package with Johnson, including adding a provision that would impose sanctions on Ukraine. Confiscation of Russian assets frozen in Western banks By making aid a loan, as Trump suggested.

McCaul said whether that would be enough to sway Trump “comes down to: Who's in his ear?”