As Donald Trump pushes forward with his “America First” agenda, relationships with some of America’s most long-standing allies are starting to unravel at an alarming rate. On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back against Trump’s accusations that the two allies have been playing foreign-exchange markets.
Amongst growing fears that decades of global economic ties are at stake, Trump has now angered another ally, and this time, it was one no one saw coming. During a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump questioned a deal signed by Obama which would see 1,250 asylum seekers in Australia resettled in the US.
The asylum seekers are currently living in special camps in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific island of Nauru. It’s worth mentioning that these camps have been condemned by human rights groups.
According to the Washington Post, who were quoting senior US officials briefed on the call, the conversation should have lasted an hour but was abruptly ended after 25 minutes by Trump. Turnbull was seeking assurances that the terms of the deal would be kept the same.
The White House’s official version of the call says that both leaders had “emphasised the enduring strength and closeness of the US-Australia relationship”. However, Turnbull later told a Sydney radio station that “the report that the president hung up is not correct”.
Trump then took to Twitter to voice his frustrations about the immigration deal, writing: “Do you believe it? The Obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
Twitter cannot believe that Trump has somehow created beef with Australia, generally considered to be the most chill of America’s allies. Or, at least, the most likely to offer you a barbecued shrimp and ask you how your day’s going. The people of Twitter were quick to criticise Trump’s hotheadedness when dealing with one of America’s most faithful allies. After all, if you can’t get along with Australia, who can you get along with?
Of course, it’s not just random people on Twitter who’re worried about the future of US-Australia relations. John Blaxland, a senior fellow at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in Canberra, said:
“A lot of Australians will find this report deeply unsettling. Australia has invested in this relationship and has been a faithful partner, especially since the declaration of the global war on terror. Trump needs Australia to support its interests in the Asia-Pacific.”
Asylum seekers detained at Nauru.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Australia is the only country to have fought in every conflict with the US since World War I, and damaging the relationship in this way could be incredibly dangerous for America.
On top of all that, these asylum seekers need a home, and Trump’s yet again shown that he doesn’t exhibit the kind of compassion needed to help.
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