The world was still reeling in January from Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. Barbara Slavin:
As Americans ponder the future with fear, it is hard to reassure friends around the world that as Barack Obama told his farewell news conference, 'Everything is going to be okay'.
Then, for Australia, came the phone call between Trump and Malcolm Turnbull and a leak to the Washington Post a few days later. Sam Roggeveen:
The psychological state of the US president has assumed central importance in Australia’s deliberations about its foreign policy.
Oh, and the Tweets. Nick Bryant:
E-diplomacy has coarsened public diplomacy. Trump, as well as assailing foes, has Tweet-shamed allies … He has threatened trade wars with a flourish of his smart phone. But @realDonaldTrump is not the only culprit.
Olivia Shen reminded readers not everyone in the US is backing Trump’s version of ‘America First’.
The US public continues to broadly support the US-led alliance system, international trade, immigration and the use of US troops abroad.
And when the transcript of the January phone call emerged, James Curran believed the response revealed far more about Australian attitudes than anything about Trump:
Australians, it seems, crave only the warming glow from Washington: the rhetoric of reassurance, the fables of the familial. But when the language and the treatment gets a little rough, the skin is surprisingly thin.
And besides, Trump has plenty of other challenges. Persistent questions about his ties to Russia spring to mind. Rebecca Vogel:
The Russians want the American public, its politicians and its allies to become lost in the ‘wilderness of mirrors’. Indeed, Trump has actively sought to undermine the work and assessments of the US Intelligence Community, contributing to the public’s uncertainty.