Former Australian Prime Minister: U.S. Has “Less Influence” on World Stage Because of Trump

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blames President Donald Trump and his administration for the United States wielding “less influence” on the world stage.

“The reality is the US is a country with enormous influence,” Turnbull told Business Insider. “But it has less influence today than it did before Mr Trump was president. That is in large part because under his presidency, the US has sought to have less influence.”

Turnbull added that Trump has pursued “a very strong isolationist, ‘don’t tread on me’ tradition in US politics.”

That approach has governed Trump’s decisions to pull out of several multinational organizations and treaties, he noted.

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“If Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate Treaty, pulls out of World Health Organisation, and seeks to undo multilateral trade deals, then all of that means America has less influence,” he said.

Turnbull was also critical of Trump’s attitude toward China, which he blames for the coronavirus pandemic and which he has accused of having undue influence over the World Health Organization (WHO).

“President Trump, for reasons that are entirely understandable, has sought to really blame China for failure in respect to the virus — and it may be that some of his criticisms are fair,” Turnbull said. “But, the bottom line is we all have a vested interest in finding out what happened. And if the WHO wants to have a free and open access to medical personnel, history, and records in China — and indeed anywhere else — then it’s going to have to be done on a no-blame, no-shame basis.”

“It cannot be a witch hunt or trying to push the blame onto any one country. Turning this into a blame game will encourage people to pull the shutters down, and we won’t get the answers we want,” he continued.

Turnbull also had harsh words for the president’s coronavirus response. Currently, the United States leads the world in both confirmed cases and deaths. (Nearly 118,000 Americans have died since the first coronavirus death in the United States was recorded in February.)

“The one thing we do know is that by January, everybody knew what was happening in Wuhan. Everyone,” Turnbull said. “So in a sense, everyone in the world apart from China was at the same starting line. And yet some countries have handled this much better than others. And obviously that’s going to be a matter of leaders being accountable.”

He added: “Those leaders that dilly-dallied and didn’t lock down quickly, that didn’t have enough PPE. Their countries and their people in many cases have paid a very heavy price for it.”

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