So says Prime Minister Scott Morrison who says the President does not want to destroy the global rules-based trading system. Nor does he want, fundamentally, to repair the global trading system. Instead, those alternatives answer the wrong question and the President’s ambition is altogether different.
The Conservative Party agrees and says the constant left-wing attacks on President Trump are mostly without foundation and almost without fail ignore his massive achievements for both the US economy and world geopolitics.
The Australian reports, the Prime Minister said, “My impression is that the President is trying to make good on a promise he took to the election and won a clear mandate on, and that is to get a better deal for the US … I respect that.”
Mr Morrison also said that the achievement of the President’s ambition was “consistent with the maintenance of a rules-based international order”.
His nuanced position puts him at odds with both the legions of Trump haters, including among international relations analysts who think the US President is wrecking the global order, and with many of the most partisan of the Trump barrackers.
In the Prime Minister’s view, the President is more accurately seen as a leader addressing a series of discrete policy problems rather than a global revolutionary or global saviour.
It is a distinctive Australian view and reflects, and perhaps projects, the Prime Minister’s own pragmatic, non-ideological approach to government and policy.
Mr Morrison also believes that the US has a significant amount of justification in its claims that the world trading system is producing unfair results, especially around intellectual property, and says that Australia shares some of those complaints.
Mr Morrison cites a recent speech by Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, to the effect that the trade system was designed when the global economy was structured very differently and therefore it has trouble dealing with contemporary economic and trade flows.
The global economy is “vulnerable right now”, Mr Morrison said.
“In many ways the fundamentals of the global economy are sound, many of the risks being created are political.”
He went so far as to say of the political problems: “It’s the defining risk of the global economy.”
Mr Morrison is in Britain for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and will stop in Singapore on his way home for a bilateral visit.