Trump’s foreign friends compete for profit

At least some of the 9,500 permanently based troops in Germany, several hundred miles to the east, could move to Poland as part of a cut that Trump abruptly announced last week. National security adviser Robert O’Brien wrote in an opinion piece Monday that troops can redeploy to other countries in Europe, but they can also head to the Indo-Pacific, where the United States is beefing up its military presence to deter China, or return to the United States

In a call to reporters ahead of Duda’s visit on Tuesday, senior administration officials declined to elaborate on the move or progress on plans for “Fort Trump.”

Poland has been courting Trump for months, even raising the idea of ​​naming a military base in his honor. The relationship is mutually beneficial: Trump enjoys broad public support in Poland and appreciates Warsaw’s commitment to meeting NATO’s defense spending targets, buying American military equipment, and cooperating in energy partnerships. Meanwhile, Warsaw appreciates the Pentagon’s investment in key European military infrastructure and is eager for a greater presence of US troops on Polish soil. It doesn’t hurt that Poland, who declined to comment for this story, offers Trump an easy contrast to a Germany that has resisted increasing its defense spending.

“It is difficult to name too many European countries that do not have a broken relationship with the Trump administration. Poland is an exception, “said Julianne Smith, a former Obama nominee and senior Pentagon official who described the decision to welcome Duda to the White House days before her election as” shocking. “

A deal on Fort Trump or an increased presence of US troops may be far from certain, as there are some complex problems to solve, for example, who will pay for the law, and the Poles are difficult negotiators. But, Smith said, “The Poles want to take advantage of the fact that they have a president of the United States who intends to reward them for spending a lot on defense, and they want to see what they can get out of it.”

China: it’s complicated

Beijing sees advantages and disadvantages in a Trump loss in November.

The Trump administration has taken a hard line on a number of problems related to China, whose ruling officials from the US Communist Party. USA They see it as a long-term threat to the United States. Trump has spoken warmly of Xi Jingping, his Chinese counterpart. But he has also imposed high tariffs on Chinese products, while his aides have traveled the world urging governments to cut ties with Beijing, especially when it comes to relying on Chinese technology.

Biden is also expected to maintain a hard line with China, but analysts say he is more likely to at least try to improve the trade relationship and see where the two countries can cooperate. On issues like climate change, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic, which started in China, Biden is expected to try to coordinate with Beijing.

However, some Chinese government officials see long-term benefits in Trump winning a second term. They argue that four more years of Trump will further harm the global position of the United States and wear down its alliances with other countries. That could benefit China as it seeks to increase its global influence. The Biden camp also says that Chinese leaders see Trump as an easy brand they can beat in trade and a person who cares little about human rights, where Beijing is vulnerable to international pressure.

A government that has reaped the benefits of Trump’s generally tough stance on China? Taiwan The United States and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations, and the United States officially recognizes the regime in Beijing as the government of China. But the United States and Taiwan have strengthened their quasi-official ties in the past four years with rising arms sales and high-level talks that have angered Beijing, which has threatened to “crush” any move by Taipei toward independence. .

To shore up Taipei’s defenses against the threat of China’s intense military exercises in the region, the Trump administration has made significant strides in normalizing arms sales to the island. Rather than putting together a large package every few years, US officials are moving toward individual sales approval more frequently, for example, giving the green light to a controversial F-16 fighter jet sale last year and more recently by announcing a possible torpedo deal. US officials are now pushing to sell even more advanced equipment and conduct joint naval exercises.

In addition to blocking the sale of additional weapons, Taipei seeks to take advantage of a historically strong relationship with the United States to close a free trade agreement before November. Taiwan is already the eleventh largest trading partner of the United States, a spokeswoman for the Taipei Office of Economic and Cultural Representation in the United States, Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, told POLITICO.

“In the past four years, we have made immeasurable progress in the areas of security, trade and international space. Both sides have characterized the relationship as their strongest point,” said Pan. “As we look forward, we continue to seek the progress towards a free trade agreement. “

“Our economies are highly complementary to each other. And a trade agreement would be strategically significant given our unique position in the region, ”continued Pan.

Historically, the United States has worked with Taiwan on trade and has treated Taipei as a separate customs territory, said Randy Schriver, a former senior Asia policy official at the Pentagon. A free trade deal, while unlikely for November due to potential reaction from Congress, would be “an improvement rather than something radically new and different,” he said.

But Biden’s campaign staff have voiced their opinion that the United States would need to take proactive steps to rebuild the relationship with China, Schriver said. This is likely to mean decreased support for sales and military cooperation, as well as less open support for Taipei politically and diplomatically, in a Biden administration, he said.

“They see the need for more caution, more calm for Beijing and less visible support for Taiwan,” said Schriver.

Saudi Arabia: touching the orb

The desert kingdom discovered that its position in Washington increased and suffered damage during the Trump era. Riyadh was Trump’s first foreign destination after taking office, marking the first time that an American president has chosen Saudi Arabia as the first stop on a maiden voyage. During the historic visit, Trump met with senior officials, announced billions of dollars in arms sales, and participated in a bizarre photo shoot while touching a mysterious glowing sphere.

While Saudi Arabia remains a key partner in the fight against terrorism, critical coverage of Iran, and a lucrative client for the US military team. In the US, a Biden administration is unlikely to be as willing as Trump to ignore human rights abuses such as those linked to the war in Yemen, the imprisonment of dissidents, and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.