A LEADING Australian foreign policy expert has delivered a devastating assessment of US President Donald Trump’s ability to handle the growing global tensions with Russia and North Korea.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans has labelled President Trump the most “ill-informed, ill-prepared, ethically-challenged and psychologically ill-equipped” president in the US history.
In an address to the National Press Club today, Professor Evans said Mr Trump was “personally driven by instinct and impulse” and “unhampered by knowledge or judgment”.
“He has led an administration acting so far manifestly on the basis of postures and not of policies,” Prof Evans said.
“While the commentariat is beginning to find some comforting early signs that the adults are regaining charge of foreign policy in the United States, I have to say that anyone betting on this administration delivering consistent, coherent, constructive and decent outcomes over the next four years is making a very big gamble indeed.”
Evans said anyone hoping for adults being in charge of US foreign policy “making a very big gamble, indeed”.
Prof Evans, who was Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister during the Hawke and Keating governments and is now the chancellor of Australian National University, said the solution in “bumper sticker terms” was “less United States, more Asia, more self-reliance”.
That did not mean walking away from the US alliance – it was still critical in terms of access to intelligence and military firepower — but less reflexive support for everything the chose to do was “long overdue”, he said.
“None of this means becoming Beijing’s patsy any more than we should be Washington’s,” he said.
“We shouldn’t hold back in making clear our own commitment to democratic and human right values; we should be prepared to push back when China reaches out to us as it has in the South China Sea in recent times.”