This Is What Trump's 'America First' Policy Would Mean For Germany

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after delivering an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club,
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after delivering an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump is branding his foreign policy with the slogan: "America First." He has decided that he wants the U.S. to focus on its own problems.

During the fourth Republican GOP debate in November 2015, he said: "We have to get smart. We can't continue to be the policemen of the world. We owe $19 trillion, we have a country that's going to hell, we have an infrastructure that's falling apart -- our roads, our bridges, our schools, our airports. And we have to start investing money into our own country."

Trump has said that he wants other countries to take more responsibility in world affairs -- and Germany is one of the countries he has mentioned most frequently.

Here are some of the -- very expensive -- suggestions he seems to be making:

1. Germany should reimburse the U.S. military. "We spend a fortune on defending Germany," Trump said during an MSNBC Town Hall in March 2015.

According to a report published by the U.S. Committee on Armed Services in 2013, the U.S. spends more than $10 billion to support military presence overseas -- 70 percent of which is spent in Germany, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.

"Why aren't they reimbursing us? Why aren't they paying a good portion of the costs?" Trump asked.

Trump seems to be thinking: Shouldn't Germany take over the costs of protecting itself?

If Germany isn't prepared to do so, the U.S. military should just move out of Germany, he suggests. "If we have to walk, we have to walk," he said.

In another interview, this time on CBS earlier this year, he said: "You're gonna have to ask yourself, at what point and at what cost can we continue to protect Japan, and Germany and many other countries? Now, they're not paying for this protection, in anywhere near what it's costing us."

He continued: "Now at some point, they may have to protect themselves. Do I like that? Not particularly. But we cannot afford it as a country."

2. Germany should pay for safe zones in Syria. Trump told the New York Times that he would like to build safe zones in Syria. "We can lead it but I don't want to spend the money on it, because we don't have any money. Our country doesn't have money," he said.

He suggests that other countries, such as Gulf states or Germany, should be responsible for financing the project.

"I mean Germany should put up money," he said, suggesting that the country would greatly benefit from such safe zones. He seems to be implying that the arrival of refugees is only causing trouble for Germany.

"Look what's happened to Germany. Germany's being destroyed and I have friends, I just left people from Germany and they don't even want to go back. Germany's being destroyed by Merkel's naiveté or worse," he told the New York Times.

Gulf states should also take part in financing these zones, Trump suggests, "because they have the money and they should finance it. So far, they've put up very little money and they taken nobody in, essentially nobody in."

The costs for such protection zones in Syria remain uncertain. New infrastructure would need to be built, and those people would need to be provided for. In addition, such safe zones would need to have military protection. But they're bound to be expensive: In 2015, the United Nations' main refugee agency made an appeal for $4.5 billion to cover the needs of the 4 million Syrian refugees who fled the war to neighboring countries.

3. Germany should pay for the protection of Ukraine. The U.S. has provided millions of dollars worth of military equipment to Ukraine in recent years, and Trump said he is "all for protecting Ukraine," but that "we have countries surrounding Ukraine that are not doing anything."

"We have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany -- tremendous economic behemoth -- why are we always doing the work?" he asked at the fourth Republican GOP Debate in November 2015.

4. Germany should boost spending on its armed forces. According to a report released by North Atlantic Treaty Organization in June 2015, 27 out of 28 of the alliance's members -- Germany among them -- are not meeting the goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.

So far, the failure to meet this goal has had no consequences. Trump, however, intends to change that.

Trump has said that he might reconsider the U.S. involvement in the NATO because European countries are not spending enough on defense.

By 2019, Germany will be spending an annual 35 billion euros on defense. It would need to spend billions more to reach NATO's goal.

5. Germany should give jobs back to the U.S. In a speech about economic policy delivered in Monessen in June 2016, Trump said, "Billions of our dollars and millions of our jobs flowed overseas as a result...I have visited cities and towns across this country where a third, or even half of manufacturing jobs have been wiped out in the past 20 years. Today we import nearly 800 billion dollars more in goods than we export. We can't continue to do that. This is not some natural disaster. It's a political and politician-made disaster. Very simple. And it can be corrected."

This post first appeared on HuffPost Germany. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.