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Australia Braces for the Impact of the New U.S. Administration

MIN READFeb 2, 2017 | 09:32 GMT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) pushed up a scheduled meeting with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, by several months to discuss trade and security issues before U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration in January.

(BROOK MITCHELL/Getty Images)

Australia, like other traditional U.S. allies in the Western Pacific, doesn't quite know what to expect from the Trump presidency. An unusually testy phone call on Jan. 28 between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and U.S. President Donald Trump, reportedly cut short by Trump after the pair clashed over a 2016 deal to resettle refugees, only underscored the sense that this uncertainty may linger. Ever the patient ally of the United States, Australia has been at this juncture before. Throughout its history, the country has subjected itself to the policy vicissitudes of faraway powers. Australia's extreme geographic isolation gives it a vast buffer against military threats, granting it free rein in its near abroad, along with considerable wealth and stability. At the same time, it puts Australia's economy at the mercy of distant export markets. Furthermore, because Canberra lacks the resources to sustain a globally capable navy of its own,...

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