Australia will benefit when the American craze subsides

In foreign policy, ’s actions run counter to our instincts. Australians are allies; Trump considers allies to be scroungers. Australians tend towards internationalism; Trump agrees with isolationism. Australia is a trading nation; Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and attacked the World Trade Organization. Australia is an old democracy and a free society; Trump passed out over strong men like Vladimir Putin and – for much of his presidency – Xi Jinping.

Trump’s defenders claim he is tough on China. His advisors certainly are, but Trump himself is wildly inconsistent. If he is re-elected, he may well revert to his earlier plan of making a “deal” with Xi.

Trump brought proprietary business and disinformation to the Oval Office. It has undermined American institutions and corroded American confidence. He has repelled capable Republicans and turned citizens against each other.

Biden with supporters at Wofford University in South Carolina. Recognition:Getty

After all, it sparked a weak US response to the coronavirus, with 225,000 dead so far. COVID-19 has now cost more American lives than in World War I, September 11, and the Vietnam War combined. Trump’s America looks fragile and feverish.

What about his opponent? Joe Biden is a seasoned politician who has dedicated his life to public service. He doesn’t worship money; In fact, he was proud to be one of the poorest members of Congress. Even his opponents like him. His strength lies in bringing people together so that the times suit him.

When it comes to foreign policy, Joe Biden believes in a model of US leadership that has been largely harmless to the world and extremely beneficial to Australia. No wonder polls from the Lowy Institute show that nearly three-quarters of Australians would prefer Biden as the next president.

Illustration: Jim PavlidisRecognition:

Is biden perfect? Far from it. He lacks the brilliant political skills of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I wish he were younger: the leaders of the world should be in the prime of their lives.

In the White House, Biden would likely stay away from the details and focus on the biggest decisions. Ronald Reagan did that quite effectively.

As a result, the people around President Biden would be more important than the people around President Trump. Fortunately, Biden is known for attracting good employees. On the foreign policy side, his staff Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Nick Burns, Michele Flournoy, Kurt Campbell, Susan Rice, and Ely Ratner are bright, competent, and tenacious officials.

Biden would be tougher for China than Obama because Beijing’s foreign policy has tightened over the past four years and Washington’s focus has shifted at the same time.

A Biden administration would present us with challenges. It’s hard to imagine Scott Morrison having as close a relationship with Biden as he was with Trump. It would be a more competitive field: other world leaders would rather run towards the White House than away from it. Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos’ work in Washington, DC would be more difficult. But I would support Australia to effectively compete for the ears of the new government.

Susan Rice is one of several experienced and skilled consultants on Joe Biden’s team.Recognition:AP

Climate change policies would be uncomfortable for the Morrison administration. Biden’s senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan recently told me for my podcast: The chairman of the directorthat climate change would be “a major priority” for Biden. The new president would “bring the nations of the world together to get everyone to improve their game … He will hold countries like China accountable for doing more, but he will also push our friends to do more and to reinforce and fulfill their responsibility for a fundamentally global problem. ”

This would not be welcome in Canberra. But regardless of the outcome in the next month, the world is moving away from carbon. This will create new costs, but it will also create new opportunities. It is in Australia’s interest to do our part to help the world avoid dangerous warming.


If Donald Trump is re-elected, he will be encouraged – and unleashed. America is being pushed to the breaking point; The US-led international order will continue to degenerate.

When Joe Biden is elected, a certain amount of normalcy will return. The madness will subside. That in itself would be a blessed relief. It’s always interesting to sum up the positive and negative aspects of the presidential candidates. But there is an emergency in the United States in 2020. The warning lights flash red. The preferred outcome for Australia is clear.

Michael Fullilove is the Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.

Trump Biden 2020

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