Australians are getting less comfortable about their alliance with the United States, the FT reports:
Public support in Australia for its longstanding military alliance with the US has fallen to its lowest in almost a decade amid concerns over the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, a survey shows.
The Lowy Institute’s annual poll also shows Australians are evenly divided on whether the country’s most important foreign relationship is with the US or China, reflecting a surge in trade and personal connections with the Asian economic powerhouse.
Michael Fullilove, the think-tank’s director, said the results were remarkable given Australia has been the most reliable US ally, with its soldiers fighting beside Americans in every major conflict during the 20th and 21st centuries.
“It says something remarkable about Donald Trump that in the event of his victory, nearly five in 10 Australians would seek to move away from Washington and nearly six in 10 say they would be less likely to support Australia taking part in military actions in concert with Washington,” he said. “Trump is clearly devaluing America’s soft power.”
The United States will need a strong relationship with Australia if it is to have any hope of standing up to Beijing, so these numbers are worrisome. Still, if they’re really just about Trump then they might clear up pretty quickly if he loses in November. But if Trump wins, will Canberra break away from Washington? It looks possible.
A Trump victory in November could cause some major geopolitical realignments. We’ll be keeping an eye on polling of America’s longtime friends and allies as we approach the election.