Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Australian Affair

Solid reporting out this morning about a testy phone call between President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull. Jake Tapper and his team have a report about it here. A couple of things:

1) The agreement to vet 1250 people and potentially admit them to the United States was made by the previous administration. It is important in foreign relations that we can be seen as trustworthy. President Trump's election--contrary to what may be felt by his supporters--was not a blank check to walk away from previous deals.

2) The agreement in question is with an steadfast ally, a nation who has been there with the US in every major conflict in recent memory, and who will serve as a great anchor of our policy to ensure China does not achieve its goal of dominating East Asia. This isn't the Iran Deal, made with a regime openly hostile to us.

3) I am hopeful that President Trump will leverage his deal-making skills to the benefit of American foreign policy. But leveraging a roofing contractor and dealing with the head of a sovereign state are two very different undertakings. Trump has made it clear that he intends to deal more directly with China in the Far East, and doing so will require steadfast friends and allies. Hopefully, his phone call is taken next time he rings.

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