Australia’s relationship with America will become stronger with the arrival of new US President Donald Trump, according to a former US ambassador to Australia.
Mel Sembler said Australia and other US allies had been unable to fully depend on former president Barack Obama, but President Trump and a beefed up US military would enhance and solidify alliances.
“You have the Trump administration there now that is very defence orientated, going to be increasing our defence spending, increasing our defence capabilities and that should be awfully important to Australia because you are a member of that alliance and you can depend on what the new administration says,” Sembler, a senior Republican Party figure who was US ambassador to Australia between 1989 and 1993 under President George HW Bush, said.
“I don’t think you could really depend on much what the last administration was saying.
“The Obama administration seemed to be more concerned about making friends with our enemies than making enemies of our friends.
“This will be much better for our dear friends such as Australia and many of our friends in Europe.”
Trump, in his inauguration speech on Friday, talked up an “America first” policy where “every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration on foreign affairs” would be aimed at benefiting American workers and families.
It raised fears Trump might walk away from allies with a new isolationist strategy.
Sembler said Australia had nothing to fear. Rival nations such as China, however, would find the US under the leadership of Trump instead of Obama would not take a backward step.
“China is not going to rattle its sword with this guy because they will find out they will get a different reaction,” Sembler said.
“They knew within a few months that Obama is a great talker but does not perform and that’s unfortunate but everybody got the signals particularly Russia and China, the Middle East and Iran.”