We as Australians are wasting our time being offended about US President Donald Trump’s Twitter tirade about the refugee deal with Australia.
We are not the audience he is targeting when he makes those remarks. His audience is his core supporter base who elected him in his domestic market of the United States. The ones that he hopes will prop up his popularity, or ratings if you will, and make him seem like a strong and decisive man putting America First.
This is his main interest, ensuring that HE comes first in everything. How many people showed up to his inauguration, how many people think he is terrific and on and on.
As Australians, let us not waste energy on being outraged about the content of his Twitter remarks or fall for his tactics of shock and awe on social media which are designed to distract and generate chatter.
Let us focus on the fact that his action reveals little respect for us as an ally and no respect for conducting diplomatic relations with courtesy and discretion. President Trump knows we are smaller than the US in population and economic size, and therefore, like many garden variety bullies he likes to pick on the easy target of the smaller kid. That is the quality of the man.
Our geographic position in Asia Pacific and our stable liberal democracy means we are strategically important to the US, and if nothing else, that should command some respect. If, however, the US Commander-in-Chief believes we are not worthy of respect, then perhaps this is the time for us to reflect on how we conduct ourselves in relation to the alliance going forward.
Australia’s future is wedded to the stability and success of the Asia Pacific region, not the success of US.
We must remember that for the next four years, the President of the United States does not believe Australia is worthy of being treated respectfully in the public forum, and that it is a reasonable diplomatic position to attempt to bully us.
We must now tread with caution, be our own counsel and be careful not to thwart our own long-term interests in pursuing our habit of always supporting this particular larger friend. His back is turned to us, he is only interested in performing for his supporters at home.