In any other circumstances, this would be the normal "We're going to call you a cowboy but we're secretly glad you're protecting our asses so we can keep insulting you" passive/aggressive schtick that we've good-naturedly put up with for decades from both Europe and the Pacific Rim because it was in our own national and strategic interest to do so, no matter how obnoxious it was. But in this case, there are clear, proximate, and justifiable causes for our allies' alarm:
Donald Trump’s apparent willingness to upend decades of U.S. security dominance in Asia is baffling major allies given [Red] China’s increasing clout and North Korea’s nuclear threats.
The billionaire front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination has told the New York Times he’d be prepared to withdraw U.S. troops from Japan and South Korea if the countries did not substantially increase their payments to help maintain the forces. The U.S. has about fifty thousand military personnel in Japan and about 28,500 in South Korea.
The comments were widely covered in local media in both countries. “We are dumbfounded at such myopic views of a leading candidate in the U.S. presidential race who tries to approach such critical issues only from the perspective of expenses,” Korea’s JoongAng Daily said in an editorial. “Such attitudes can aggravate the distrust and discontent of the world about Uncle Sam.”
Precisely why it sounds so much like a continuation of the Obama Doctrine, for which I would never have imagined that any conservative could ever have developed a taste, or even been willing to excuse or overlook for any reason, much less one so pathetically unworthy as "establishment"-bashing.
Trump has made various campaign promises to reverse established U.S. policy on trade and security, and the practicality of governing may mean most of those would not become reality if he wins.
That same practicality of governing will avert that possibility.
Still, just the mention of it has sparked some unease. The vacuum caused by a U.S. military departure would cast doubt on its future role in Asia, a key trading and investment region, and potentially open the door to greater [Red] Chinese military assertiveness. [emphasis added]
Or, as Kunihiko Miyake, a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto put it, "If there is no security alliance between Japan and the United States, that means the United States will cease to be a Pacific power" And all of the above is applicable to the U.S. being a power in Europe via Trump preaching the same retreatist/defeatist message about withdrawing from NATO.
The difference between now and any previous time in his miserable, misbegotten, worm-eaten, egg-sucking life is that when you rise to the level of even possibly becoming POTUS, what you say actually matters and carries weight worldwide. Trump's ego will never permit him to realize this, but before now that was never the case. But he thinks it always has been, and so he doesn't see the difference, and doesn't change his Al Czervik persona - or rather, can't change it, but wouldn't even if he could. And so he just spouts his dangerous ignorance willy-nilly like a continent-spanning rainbird, convinced that everything he says is bound for engraving on stone tablets, and puts entire regions of the globe into a figurative blender with the setting on "liquify". And his trained seal amen chorus keeps the inflatable plastic balls balanced on their snouts while slapping their flippers together, although perhaps not with quite the same level of enthusiasm.
I do have to say that it must be fascinating to be Vladimir Putin at this moment in history. He's looking at geopolitical prey that has elected an Islamocommunist fool not once, but twice in succession, and is following that up with a choice between the two most unpopular, incapable, incompetent, and most exploitable useful idiots since....well, their wannabe-predecessor. It's like Vlad combined Christmas and Groundhog's Day, except that unlike Bill Murray, he knows enough not to wake himself up from it. No wonder he's in the perpetually good mood that otherwise would come from, shall we say, bi- or tri-daily "servicings".