Small Wars Journal

Almost Half the Top Jobs in Trump's State Department are Still Empty

Almost Half the Top Jobs in Trump's State Department are Still Empty by Doyle McManus - The Atlantic

In 18 countries, the White House has yet to designate a U.S. ambassador. That includes Australia, a close ally to America that is beginning to look to China instead.

Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies anywhere. Its soldiers fought alongside Americans in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It’s a member of the world’s most exclusive intelligence club, the “Five Eyes” (the other four are the United States, Canada, Britain and New Zealand). Its conservative prime minister says he wants to help the United States curb China’s growing domination of East Asia.

So why can’t Australia get more respect from the Trump Administration?

For more than two years, the United States has failed to send an ambassador to Canberra, and Australians who pay attention to foreign policy see the omission as a slight. “It’s starting to really grate, particularly for true believers in the alliance,” James Curran, a foreign policy scholar at the University of Sydney, told me. “They fear it is a signal from Washington that Australia might not be so valued a partner after all.”

“Australia, from President Trump’s perspective, is a second-class ally,” the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

To anyone but a diplomacy wonk, this might seem little more than bungled protocol and hurt feelings. Except for this: Australia is debating its strategic future in a rapidly changing Asia. Should it stick to its traditional role as a military ally of the United States—or cast itself, instead, as a mostly-economic partner for China? …

Read on.