US Election 2020: Will Winner Have To Set 'New Tone' With NATO?

Prior to the 2020 American election, BFBS Sitrep asked what the outlook for NATO could be during the next four years.

Ahead of the 2020 United States presidential election result, BFBS Sitrep asked what the outlook for NATO could be during the next four years.

Scott Lucas, Professor of International Politics and American Studies at the University of Birmingham, told the latest episode of the podcast that it would take "more time to repair" any damage felt by the military alliance during Donald Trump's first term than it took to sustain.

After four years of heavy criticism from the US toward spending and strategic dynamics within NATO, Prof Lucas said a new administration would immediately have to "set a new tone" with allies.

"No-one leads, no-one follows, no-one orders, no-one insults," he added.

He speculated that Joe Biden's office could begin to tackle "a number of detailed issues", deferred due to strained relations between the US and the alliance, by the start of 2021.

President Trump has been praised for his role in a greater NATO defence spend occurring across the board since his arrival, having accused countries including Germany, Denmark, and Canada of underspending and relying on the US for security.

Though NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Mr Trump for "strong leadership" on spending in 2019, working relationships within the group have suffered since the US leader said it was "obsolete" in 2017 for not "taking care of terror".

"I think, for continental Europe, another four years of Trump, it’s never going to completely disrupt the alliance, that’s based on institutions including militaries, including intelligence services, but it just disrupts business on a day-to-day basis," said Prof Lucas.

Royal Air Force Typhoons during a NATO air policing mission: President Trump has been vocal on defence spending across the alliance (Picture: RAF).

"The one thing that you want in the military sector and that you want in diplomacy is you want to know the rules of the game.

"You want to know the rules of the game with your adversaries, you want to know the rules of the game with your allies, you want to know the rules of the game with your institutions," he said.

"Donald Trump doesn’t play by the rules of that game."

One moving part in Mr Biden’s reach for stability would be the fate of the UK as it leaves the European Union.

The presidential candidate has already ruled out any post-withdrawal trade deals between the US and Britain if Brexit sees a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"No US-UK trade deal has knock-on effects, in terms of US-UK security relations," said Prof Lucas.

Joe Biden’s defence credentials include around 50 years in politics, eight of which were spent as Vice President, advising Barack Obama on a range of foreign affairs.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s first term has seen ambitious bills pushed for defence spending, the ordered killing of the leader of so-called Islamic State and a senior Iranian commander, and controversial nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Russia, China and North Korea.

Both President Obama and President Trump's stints have seen troop withdrawal from the Middle East.

Stateside in 2020, Prof Lucas said that Mr Biden holds a superior "blueprint" for working with the military "in terms of planning, in terms of policy and in terms of operations".

What impact will the US election result have on UK and American defence? Click the links to read and watch our analysis.

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