What does it mean to reassess Australia's intra-alliance bargaining power in the age of Trump?

When Australia reassesses their intra-alliance bargaining power in the age of Trump, they're reconsidering the pros and cons of their relationship with the United States. Previously, Australia has been a loyal ally. It even fought in George W. Bush's Iraq war. However, Trump represents a break from the past. His critiques of China and his abrupt policies have some in Australia wondering what power they could exert over him to promote policies that don't jeopardize their own well-being.

Expert Answers

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When we reassess something—whether it be a policy, a choice, or an alliance—we’re examining it again. We're looking at areas we may have glossed over previously and discovering new opportunities and/or flashpoints.

When we talk about "the age of Trump," we’re generally talking about how Trump tends to behave in a way that past American presidents have not. This behavior could jeopardize "the postwar order," or the way American power has typically functioned since World War II.

We see Trump's break from tradition in multiple areas. One main area is how he treats longstanding American allies. Trump's willingness to criticize normal allies might be why Australia, a long-term ally, is reassessing its alliance with America.

Australia has been a devoted ally: Australian forces fought in Afghanistan; they even fought in George W. Bush's war with Iraq. Not all allies fought in that war. For example, the French did not.

Australia also spends a lot of money buying weapons from the US military, and they've helped deter threats to America's security in their region.

However, Australia's biggest trading partner is China. What country is constantly condemned by Trump? China.

Trump's hostility toward China might be one reason Australia is reconsidering the overall benefits of its alliance with the United States. While Australia doesn't want to upset Trump, it also doesn't want to unsettle its biggest trading partner (China).

More so, Trump's policies are far from constant. Look at how he dealt with North Korea and Kim Jong-un. He went from threatening an attack to trying to create a peace deal. Trump's seemingly sudden and unpredictable policy shifts might be another reason why Australia should take a second look at the benefits of their alliance with America.

Does Australia have the power to influence the United States to act in a way more beneficial to them? Based on Trump’s past behavior, we’d say no.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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