Trump and the Pacific

By AFR View

It is welcome news if the Trump administration is circling back to the multilateral approach to trade and security in Asia which the President so publicly abandoned within days of taking office. As we reported on page one yesterday, Donald Trump’s quiet signing of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act could indicate a softening towards the TransPacific Partnership. Quitting the multilateral deal was a blunder in Washington’s trade showdown with China when many TPP members share the same worries about Beijing.

But despite the rivalries, the Asia-Pacific is about sharing growth. Australia has no use for the populist backlashes elsewhere against stagnating prospects. We control our borders. There is broad support for trade deals. And China’s growth has been a great benefit, not a threat. It’s an example of prosperity to draw America as co-beneficiary and security anchor in the Pacific. The new Act shows that the US establishment still instinctively leans to Pacific engagement, despite Mr Trump’s isolationism. And we can be persuasive. As a recent Henry Jackson Society geopolitical survey indicated, Australia in economic, military and soft influence is no mere middle power.

 

Read the full article in the Financial Review

HJS



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