Whereas Trump is a singular and unorthodox politician, Hockey stated that his strategy to commerce and defence coverage represents the brand new regular for US politics.
“We aren’t going again,” Hockey stated. “America has modified, world commerce has modified, geo-politics has modified and it is going to have a profound impression on each a part of the world.
“Any enterprise in Australia that operates with blind indifference to what’s taking place in Washington goes to undergo in a single type or one other. From cyber-security legal guidelines to cross-border taxation to punitive commerce measures, it is all modified and it is not going to return any time quickly.”
Hockey stated Australia needed to put together for a world wherein world boards such because the World Commerce Organisation and the United Nations play an more and more marginal position.
“The US has mainly torn up the entire multinational framework,” he stated. “Relationships now are overwhelmingly bilateral not multilateral. And I do not suppose that is unique to the Republicans.”
On this local weather Australia must work tougher than ever earlier than to take care of good relations with US leaders quite than depend on the international locations’ longstanding bilateral relationship, he stated.
Hockey pointed to the coverage positions of main Democratic presidential contenders who, whereas opposing Trump’s abrasive fashion, share his protectionist commerce instincts and resistance to deploying American troops abroad.
“Democrats on the controversy stage are speaking about tearing up present commerce offers,” he stated. “The Democrats look much more confused on commerce than the Republicans.”
Increasing on an argument he made in a headline-grabbing speech in October, Hockey stated each Democrats and Republicans are more and more reluctant to make use of America’s world clout to advertise free commerce. In that speech Hockey criticised Trump’s commerce insurance policies, saying the US risked shedding its financial dominance except it once more champions the free circulate of products and providers throughout borders.
Protectionist commerce insurance policies additionally make the world a extra harmful place, he stated.
“Historical past proves that financial isolationism is a precursor for battle,” he stated. “If a nation turns into economically remoted then historical past proves it might probably find yourself accelerating home nationalism fuelling outward dealing with aggression.”
Hockey stated the partial commerce deal signed by the US and China in Washington on Wednesday (Thursday Australian time) was a “step in the best path” to a fairer buying and selling system.
However he disputed Trump’s declare that it represents a “momentous” change in buying and selling relations between the 2 financial superpowers.
“It is written on rice paper: anybody can tear it up at any second,” he stated. “If it is nearly buying extra items then that is not an answer. It must be structural.”
Requested for his predictions on the 2020 contest, Hockey stated: “At this cut-off date I can definitely see a pathway for Donald Trump to be re-elected. He is a formidable campaigner. Donald Trump defines and destroys his opponents higher than virtually anybody else I’ve ever seen.”
Donald Trump defines and destroys opponents higher than virtually anybody else I’ve ever seen.
He added that most of the lowest-wage earners in America have seen their wages rise lately and that unemployment is at near-record lows, boosting Trump’s re-election hopes.
As for the Democratic contest he stated: “My intuition is the candidate who’s going to win wasn’t on the controversy stage this week. The amount of cash Michael Bloomberg is spending on tv promoting is extraordinary.”
As ambassador, Hockey has fought off threats of tariffs on Australian metal and aluminium and helped persuade the Trump administration to resettle refugees from Manus Island and Nauru.
He additionally labored behind the scenes to calm the President’s anger over Alexander Downer’s position in triggering an FBI probe into his ties with Russia. Hockey developed a detailed private relationship with the President and performed golf with him a number of instances. Trump additionally hosted Hockey for a non-public farewell assembly on the White Home on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).
Hockey shall be succeeded in early February by former Liberal senator and John Howard’s long-time chief-of-staff Arthur Sinodinos. There shall be no official handover in Washington: beneath diplomatic conventions, incoming and outgoing ambassadors will not be allowed to be of their host nation on the similar time through the transition interval.
However, after a brief go to to Australia, Hockey and his household will return to Washington. They’re already renting a brand new residence a number of blocks from away from the ambassador’s residence within the stately suburb of Woodley Park. The previous treasurer stated he has no fastened timeframe for all times in Washington and expects to remain for effectively over a yr.
“I’m exiting public life and going into the personal sector,” he stated. He described his soon-to-be introduced position as one which encompasses “infrastructure, strategic instructions, world affairs”.
Matthew Knott is North America correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.