How to manage the world’s most important diplomacy post-Brexit
The UK’s exit from the European Union has triggered a diplomatic crisis between the US and Australia.
Key points: Australia and the US have accused each other of “trying to interfere in each other’s affairs” after Britain’s decision to leave the EUThe two countries have been negotiating a “new approach” to global diplomacySince leaving the EU, Australia has been negotiating with Washington for a “mutual defence agreement”The Australian government is pushing for the US to continue “a dialogue and mutual understanding”With its “most sensitive bilateral relationship” between Australia and Washington “at stake”, Australian diplomats are urging the US not to interfere “in each others affairs”.US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off Australia’s diplomatic relations with China, saying Australia is “a very good friend of the United States”.
“I don’t think Australia is going to be able to get along with China,” he said in May.
“We’re not going to have good relations with Australia.
We’re not friends.”
But Australian Ambassador to the US Mark Butler says the US is a “very good friend” of the US, and Australia will be able “to have a good relationship” with the US.
“They’re very good friends,” Mr Butler told the ABC’s The World Tonight.
“And so if we’re not able to have a relationship, then it’s the best thing for Australia.”
The diplomatic row began when Australia, along with the EU and the UK, joined a US-led trade and security pact called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in 2015.
The US is seeking to expand trade with countries including the EU as part of its drive to make its own global trade agreements more effective and secure.
Australia is a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but is a party to the TPP, which is an attempt to build a free-trade bloc in Asia.US President Trump has described the trade deal as a “disaster” for the American economy and has accused Australia of attempting to impose a “globalist” ideology on the US through the TPP.
“You don’t need to go back into the 1930s or to the 1920s to see that the TransAtlantic trade agreement, which Australia is a part of, is a disaster for the United State,” Mr Trump said in September.
“What we have now is not the best deal, but what we have is a bad deal.
And it’s a disaster.”
The trade agreement would open the door to tariffs on Australia’s goods, with the United Kingdom and the EU being the biggest winners.
Australia has also been a key supporter of US efforts to promote trade with Asia, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for a new relationship with the Asian nation after Mr Trump’s election victory.
“The United States of America is a country with a very special relationship with Australia,” Mr Turnbull said at a conference in Australia’s capital, Canberra, in October.
“Australia is one of the few countries that actually has been able to build relationships with some of the most dynamic economies in the world and build alliances with some very big countries.”
We’re a country that’s really good at building relationships.
“But Mr Butler said Australia was not “close to being a closed country”.”
The fact is that we have a strong relationship with China and we have had a close relationship with Japan, and so we’ve got a very strong relationship, but we don’t have a close, mutually beneficial relationship with Washington,” he told the programme.”
So I think that’s a very good thing for us.
“But it’s going to take time for that relationship to get back to its former glory and I think the Americans are going to do everything they can to ensure that that happens.”
Mr Butler said the US could use Australia as an example to convince the US government that “the best way to do it is to have one-on-one meetings with the Australian prime minister”.
“It is possible to be an American ambassador in Australia and it’s very easy to be a good friend to the American government, and that’s how the relationship should be,” he added.