The Trump administration’s evolving UN policy is a case study in how policymaking in the administration remains a work in progress amid competing worldviews, absent or unclear guidance, and an idiosyncratic president. There are deep ideological divisions within the White House about America’s role in the world.
If the Trump–Turnbull call illustrated the operatic nature of the early Trump administration, then the Trump–Abe long weekend presented an alternative picture of US alliance management under the new President.
It was hard to overstate the shock in Washington and here in New York the day after the US election. But now it’s time for sober analysis of Trump’s possible foreign and defence policy, and it’s difficult to know where to begin. While Trump has made statements anathema to the foreign and defence policy establishment, he has offered little in the way of detailed policy.
Donald Trump’s recent comments on America’s alliances, coinciding with the Republican convention last week, have further raised the anxiety levels of US allies about Washington’s global role after the US presidential election.
The US presence in the Indo–Asia–Pacific is transforming, and Australia has a major interest in how it unfolds. That transformation is driven in large part by China’s rise, and has several important features.
First, US alliances with Australia, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea are being updated according to each ally’s changing strategic outlook. The US is helping to build up allied maritime, cyber and space resilience capability.
A decade ago, there were some critics ready to predict a downturn in international peace operations. The start of the 21st century had seen a return of peacekeeping from East Timor to Liberia, but critics saw this as a temporary phenomenon.
As Peter Jennings observed in a recent post, the Quadrennial Defense Review makes for sobering reading for Americans and allies alike. With its troop and cost reductions and emphasis on modernisation yet discussion of heightened risk, this QDR says as much about the fiscal environment as it does about the strategic environment.