Republican front-runner Donald Trump said in his first future foreign policy speech on Wednesday that if elected president in November he would make US allies bear more of the financial burden for their defense, and be tougher on Iran, which has become a “great power” at Israel’s expense.
In a major speech, Trump said that as president he would “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy” and rebuild the US military.
Trump criticized the US’ relationship with its allies under the Obama administration, saying: “Our friends cannot depend on us. We have had a president who bows to our enemies first.”
Trump, who referred to the nuclear deal with Iran as “disastrous,” said that Iran “cannot be allowed a nuclear weapon, and under a Trump administration, they will never be allowed to have that nuclear weapon.”
Trump also mentioned America’s relationship with Israel, which he referred to as “a great friend and one true democracy in Middle East,” saying: “Israel has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity. Vice President Joe Biden critisized Israel – a force for justice and peace – for acting as an impediment to peace in the region. President Obama has not been a friend to Israel. He has treated Iran with tender love and care and made it a great power in the Middle East – all at the expense of Israel, our other allies in the region and, critically, the United States.
“We’ve picked fights with our oldest friends, and they’re looking elsewhere,” he added.
Trump was stern in charging that American allies have benefited from a US defense umbrella but have not contributed their fair share.
“The countries we defend must pay for the cost of this defense. If not, the US must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice,” Trump said.
He spoke the day after victories in five Northeastern states that moved him closer to capturing the Republican Party presidential nomination for the November 8 election.
The New York billionaire set aside his rancorous campaign rhetoric for his address on foreign policy, delivered at a downtown Washington hotel. Trump usually speaks in an off-the-cuff manner, but he delivered Wednesday’s speech with the aid of a teleprompter as he sought to make himself appealing to more Republican voters.