The Trump presidency and Australia’s security: don’t panic, don’t relax

International relations National security Diplomacy Defence Australia United States of America Asia

Explores what the Trump presidency means for Australia and the Asian region from a security perspective.

Key points:

  • Future US international policy has become uncertain, with the unpredictability of President Trump and deep divisions in political and public opinion.
  • Security competitors will severely test US resolve and power, while allies will seek to hedge against US unpredictability and against Chinese or Russian power.
  • Australia’s strategic policy response will need to be steady and interests-based, avoiding both complacency and panic.
  • Australia will remain well-regarded in Washington but will need to work hard to convert goodwill to influence with US decision makers and power brokers.

Policy recommendations:

  • Australia should intensify efforts – beyond usual diplomatic and defence channels – to influence US political decisions on international issues that matter to us.
  • Australia should deepen and diversify its security and economic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, building a strategic web to bind and complement US alliances.
  • Government and business needs directly to explain and champion the importance to Australia of our comprehensive ties to the United States, including in new priority domains like cyber security, as well as investment and defence.
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