Trump panic shows extent of misunderstandings about the nature and purpose of the Australia-US alliance and indeed the ideological hostility driving out informed debate

Australia-US alliance is strong, tested, geo-strategically logical and irreplaceable. It is not personality-based, nor does Trump's personality, real or imagined, really matter over the medium to long term. Much of the panic over the election of Donald Trump also seems driven by political biases or outright ideological hostility, rather than objective analysis.


Letter to The Age
Sunday, 05 February 2017
(not published)

Daniel Fitton, “Donald, maaaate, show some respect”, Sunday Age, February 5, p4, misses six key points.

First, disregarding the uninformed panic and ideological distaste for President Trump by some, its not clear that such a drastic step is necessary.

Second, respect rubs both ways.

Just because someone dislikes Trump, or is prepared to ignore the millions who voted for his policies, longstanding diplomatic relationships are not dependent on personality issues either way.

Third, even if necessary – and at the risk of making a temporary hiccup a four or eight-year problem – there are far more subtle ways of sending such a message..

Fourth, withdrawing the senior Australian exchange officer from Headquarters US Army Pacific in Hawaii would more than cut of our nose to spite our face.

This position is clearly worth more to Australia than the US.

Not least in terms of being an institutionalised consultation and indeed early-warning mechanism, an inoculation against Melian dialogues, and the result of a unique invitation to the most trusted US ally in the Pacific region.

Fifth, in geo-strategic terms, the Australia-US relationship is a long-term, grand-strategic level alliance between two maritime, not continental, powers and always will be.

It is not just a case of short-term mutual diplomatic, military or economic convenience.

Finally, this type of alliance between liberal-democracies also results from over two centuries of strategic and moral lessons and could not be replicated with an authoritarian power.

The so-called China alternative peddled by strategically myopic mercantilists would actually mean us losing our sovereign freedom-of-action in the same way the USSR treated Finland. Or indeed worse.

Those panicking over Trump need to remember all this.


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