April 08, 2024

Trump will see nuclear subs as a ‘win-win’, US foreign policy guru predicts

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Journalist: Matthew Knott

One of America’s leading foreign policy thinkers has played down fears that Donald Trump could discard the AUKUS pact or seek revenge against Australian ambassador Kevin Rudd if the former president is re-elected in November.

Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of the Centre for a New American Security think tank, also said there had been a naive reaction to US deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell’s recent remarks in which he suggested Australian nuclear-powered submarines could play a role in a war between the United States and China over Taiwan.

While some commentators have seen Campbell’s remarks as controversial given their allusion to possible conflict in Taiwan, Fontaine said: “I saw it as a statement of the obvious.

“He said the submarines could be relevant in a variety of contingencies, including cross-strait contingencies. If that’s a surprise to anyone, it shouldn’t be.”

Speaking as the US, Australia and United Kingdom begin talks to allow other nations such as Japan to enter the trilateral pact, Fontaine said he feels “pretty confident” that Trump would stick with AUKUS if he defeats incumbent Joe Biden.

“There are grounds to worry about what Trump might do if he were back in office, but AUKUS is unlikely to be one of them,” said Fontaine, who served as a senior official on Asia policy in George W. Bush’s administration and is visiting Australia for a national security conference run by the Australian National University.

Read the full story and more from The Sydney Morning Herald.


  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of CNAS. He served as President of CNAS from 2012–19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009–12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy ad...