Australian news, and some related international items

Donald Trump could get Australia involved in war

every US ally is now on notice – you cannot rely on Trump’s America in a crisis

US Allies Now On Notice, The Age, Peter Hartcher, 2 May 17   It was five years ago that a senior US official brought to Canberra the sobering news that North Korea was turning its missiles towards Australia for the first time. He  [Campbell,  a former senior Pentagon official] has an update…….. .

“The biggest deterrent” to a pre-emptive US strike on North Korea “is not its nuclear capability – it’s conventional capability. If ever there were a conflict on the Korean peninsula, it would be a masive inferno. You have high confidence that, in the end, North Korea would be wiped out.

“But the devastation of the South would be horrific – millions killed.”

A further restraint on any idea of a preemptive US strike to destroy North Korea’s nuclear facilities, says Campbell, is that there is recent evidence that the regime has distributed the nuclear infrastructure around the country and the US could not be fully confident that it knows every location.

There are no easy options. Trump has said that he’s expecting China’s Xi Jinping to do the hard work of deterring Kim from any further provocation. Xi says that Washington and Beijing are united in seeking to prevent the nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

But North Korea is nonetheless one of only two allies of China, and there are limits to how far it will go in pressing its ally. Campbell says he expects that “in the end, China will disappoint” American expectations……

He’s not impressed by Trump’s handling of the problem to date: “In a crisis like this the tendency is for the US to bring its allies closer. The president has instead roiled South Korea with his comments – it’s crazy….. In the midst of a crisis that Donald Trump has described his most urgent national security priority, he has picked a fight not with his adversary but with his ally.

In the past week or so, even as North Korea threatens an imminent attack on South Korea, Trump has chosen to denounce the US free trade agreement with Seoul as the “worst deal ever” and demanded renegotiations.

He has insulted his South Korean ally by saying in an interview that the country was once “part of China”, a falsehood that seems to concede to China a greater scope for legitimate influence over Seoul.

And, astonishingly, he has even demanded publicly that the South Korean government, which goes to an election in a month’s time, must pay for the defensive missile interception system that the US is installing on South Korean soil.

Malcolm Turnbull will strike a pose with Trump this week on the deck of a retired warship in New York Harbour to affirm the strength of the alliance with the US. Everyone will play happy allied families in a carefully choreographed performance.

But the reality of US alliances under Trump is not the cheerful one to be played out on the USS Missouri but Trump’s treatment of America’s South Korean ally.

Every US ally needs to note that, exactly when South Korea needs America most, Trump is putting pressure on it, picking a fight with it on trade and defence, publicly belittling it.

Turnbull has to do what he can to preserve as much of the alliance as he can. But every US ally is now on notice – you cannot rely on Trump’s America in a crisis. ….–and-so-are-us-allies-20170501-gvwpbm.html

May 2, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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