Donald Trump

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper Warns of Trump's Potential Second Term

Main image to the post Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper Warns of Trump's Potential Second Term

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Trump's Potential Second Term

In an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about the potential consequences of a second term for Donald Trump. He believes Trump would likely adopt a more isolationist foreign policy and take a harder line with U.S. allies, including Japan.

Esper suggested that Trump might pressure Japan to increase its financial support for U.S. forces stationed in the country and to quickly end U.S. assistance for Ukraine. He also expressed concern that Trump would continue to undermine democratic institutions and norms.

Esper noted that Trump has said his second term would be about "retribution" and that he would not be restrained by the prospect of re-election. He also pointed out that Trump might use the metric of whether U.S. allies are contributing 2% of their GDP to defense when deciding his diplomatic approach.

The Japanese government has set a goal of increasing defense- and security-related spending to 2% of GDP by fiscal 2027. However, Esper believes that Trump may not consider this sufficient and could pressure Japan to increase its financial support for U.S. forces and to commit to buying more arms from the United States.

Esper served as defense secretary from July 2019 to November 2020. He was dismissed after disagreements with Trump on issues including the response to street protests over racial injustice. Since then, he has kept his distance from the former president.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09