The Trump effect downunder: U.S. allies, Australian strategic culture, and the politics of path dependence

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Contemporary Security Policy, 2019, 40, (3), pp. 335-361
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Donald Trump’s election precipitated a debate in Australia about the value of retaining close alliance ties with the United States. Similar dynamics are discernible in other U.S. allies as the negative impact of Trump administration policies becomes clearer. Yet despite this “Trump effect,” we argue Australia is unlikely to distance itself from the United States because at the core of Australia’s strategic culture is a very positive “cultural orientation” toward the United States that is highly institutionalized in treaties, formal bilateral ties, Track 2 diplomacy, and public opinion. Such institutionalized ties have powerful path dependent effects. Accordingly, we conclude that the Trump effect does not constitute a powerful enough “exogenous shock” to move Australia off its well-worn grand-strategic path. But this alliance relationship is marked by both high cultural affinity and high institutionalization: American policy-makers should seriously consider whether other U.S. allies can tolerate similar levels of “stress.”.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: