Trump forgets Australia

President Trump’s greatest legacy accomplishment will be his restructuring of the U.S. government to address Communist China’s multi-generational challenge. But as he prepares to leave office, the president is neglecting one of his most important partners.

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Having infuriated Beijing by its increasing support of U.S. efforts to resist China’s imperialism, Australia is currently suffering under a concerted Chinese trade war. Australian exports are being left to rot in Chinese warehouses, and restrictions imposed in other critical export sectors. Spreading the insane lie that the coronavirus might have been sparked by foreign imports of meat into Wuhan city, China has now restricted Australian lamb imports.

President Trump doesn’t seem to care about this attack on one of America’s closest allies. The U.S. should have responded to Beijing’s pressure campaign by introducing reciprocal tariffs on Chinese goods. Instead, the president seems determined to spend his final days in office fixated on offering evermore ridiculous Twitter tirades over the election. Trump and the nation would be far better served by America’s standing with Australia against our shared adversary.

Absent Trump’s leadership, the U.S. foreign policy apparatus is waffling. Addressing an Australian business group, U.S. ambassador to Canberra Arthur Culvahouse jnr. warned on Wednesday that Australia had to recognize that “It’s more clear than ever that in the post-COVID world friends matter, friends you can trust, friends who share your values, your interests and who are there for you in the good times and in the bad times.” Culvahouse jnr. is trying to persuade Australia to avoid further investment in stronger trade relationships with China. But his words will fall hollow absent American support. After all, it would be one thing to call on Australia to distance its economy from China were the U.S. was actively consolidating that effort. But where, as now, the U.S. ambassador is making demands while the U.S. president sits idle, one imagines that most Australians have little interest in what said ambassador has to say! Indeed, they might see this American arrogance as a cause to accept China’s offer of massive new trade deals in return for Canberra’s abandoned support for the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

To his credit, Biden’s national security designate Jake Sullivan recently tweeted in support of Australia. That might sound like nothing, but it’s something more than Trump has yet done. Still, indications suggest that Biden will take a softer approach towards Beijing than has Trump. That makes it even more important that Trump step up now and show solidarity with this most important ally.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Foreign Policy, National Security, China, South China Sea, Australia, Xi Jinping, Communist Party

Original Author: Tom Rogan

Original Location: Trump forgets Australia

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