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50th Speaker of the US House of Representatives (1995-1999) Newt Gingrich is one of the most influential members of the Republican Party and the harshest critics of the current President Barack Obama. In 2012, he was among the leaders of the Republican primaries, and lost to Mitt Romney.
And he is quite close to the current Republican candidate, Donald Trump. That is why Newt Gingrich can answer the question of how would US policy change, including towards Ukraine, in case of victory of Donald Trump.
We had an opportunity to briefly talk to a politician during the 13th annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy (YES).
Most of the world wants to see the losing Republican nominee. Is it a problem?
I am certain that the aim of these races is that the American people will elect a leader. Does America need the whole world to elect its leader or the Americans can do it alone? Here is the key question!
Election of Trump is a signal, indicating on the independence of American democracy.
How would it influence US partnerships with other countries?
Mr. Trump intends to put the American interest in first place. US interests first, and then – negotiations with other countries. Today US interests are influenced by some confusing international programs.
Which confusing programs are you talking about? You mean US participation in the conflict in Syria and Afghanistan?
If you take the relationship to NATO, Trump repeatedly stated that majority of other countries are not even close to approaching the financial burden that the United States must carry.
But the fact remains - we believe that Europeans must consider our opinion and should respond to it.
None of US presidents, including Republicans, has voiced this idea. For example, Ronald Reagan did not occur to blame Europe that it is not opposing to the Soviet threat.
George W. Bush always spoke about it. I was then the US Commission on National Security, and I can say this for sure. When Donald Rumsfeld was defense minister, the issue was raised twice.
How would it influence the assistance for Ukraine? In particular, the current problem - blocking by President Obama granting Ukraine a lethal weapon. What will change under President Trump?
I think that Trump will remove the ban.
Personally, I always opposed the ban. I am sure that the Ukrainian people have the right to defend themselves and their country. Conducting assistive policy towards Ukrainian only “in words,” without giving appropriate modern weapons for protection is a defeat for the United States. Trump will make it different.
Your optimism is inspiring, but what is the base for your optimism? In particular, given the numerous complementary Trump’s claims concerning Putin.
As you said, President Obama did not provide lethal weapons to Ukraine. Barack Obama and John Kerry voice the very strong statements addressed to Vladimir Putin, but do nothing to stop him.
In fact, they are cooperating when it comes Iran and Syria.
Would President Trump freeze such cooperation with Putin?
Not completely, of course. But we hope that he would temporarily suspend the agreement on Iran.
I want to add another important thing: Obama and Kerry oppose providing lethal weapons to Ukraine. Rather, (Hillary) Clinton will work the same way.
Instead, we can say for sure that President Trump would “unlock” the issue of weapons in favor of Ukraine.
Trump can say nice things about Putin, but in the meantime, he will sell Ukraine arms.
You say, the US would sell the weapons?
Yes, most likely, the weapons would be sold. I think that Ukraine will be asked to delay payments.
It is often said that the US refusal to take responsibility for the events in the world plunge it into even deeper crisis. Are the US ready for such a scenario?
I quote Trump. He said: we need time to figure out what are the real American interests. And after we define them, we would defend them.
Doesn’t the fight against global terrorism meet these interests?
So, the US will not abandon the majority of anti-terrorism programs? In particular, in Syria.
All Syrian situation is a struggle over Assad. But what I want to emphasize, Trump’s Chinese policy will be more aggressive.
You mean trade policy or situation with the expansion of China in the South China Sea?
Concerning the situation around the South China Sea, I think Trump would show his stronger reaction. First he will change policy on trade relations with China.
Another Trump’s promise was to freeze talks on a transatlantic free trade area. How the US trade relations
Brussels bureaucracy allows attacks on Facebook, Google, and Apple.
That is why trade relations with Europe cause much more complaints than ever.