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Europe Must Rearm Now

The growing likelihood of an unhinged Donald Trump returning to power and acting on his threats to withdraw the United States from NATO should serve as a wake-up call for Europe. Instead of hoping for the best, European countries must boost their military spending and establish a robust defense union.

LONDON – Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House in 2025 poses a grave threat to Europe’s security. With war in Ukraine still raging, European countries must shore up their defenses against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s revanchist aggressions before it is too late.

The prospect of an unrestrained and unhinged Trump acting on his threats to abandon the United States’ historic commitment to Europe’s defense is so alarming to most European leaders that they appear to be in denial. But after decisive victories in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Trump is now almost certain to be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in November’s election. Given that he also leads President Joe Biden in national polls and in many battleground states, his return to power is a real and present danger.

During his first term, Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw the US from NATO, the military alliance that ensures that the US extends its nuclear umbrella to Europe. He was talked out of it by his senior foreign-policy advisers, notably former National Security Adviser John Bolton. But Trump’s increasingly isolationist rhetoric suggests that, if elected again, he will surround himself with yes-men rather than experienced establishment figures.