Why would Trump treat us like this?

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION - PETER GLEE­SON

IN 1942, my father, Henry “Chicka’’ Glee­son, a sig­nal­man, fought along­side Amer­i­can sol­diers against the ma­raud­ing Ja­panese in the South­west Pa­cific.

Dad didn’t say too much about his time in Pa­pua New Guinea dur­ing the war — we do know he ran the two-up games — but he did give the Yanks a rap and said Aus­tralia couldn’t have asked for bet­ter al­lies.

Since World War I Aus­tralia has stood lock­step with the US in con­flict.

In fact, dur­ing the Bat­tle of Hamel in 1918, Aus­tralian Gen­eral John Monash was the first non-Amer­i­can to com­mand US troops, such was the mu­tual re­gard.

All this makes the ab­sence of a US am­bas­sador in Can­berra a dif­fi­cult, if not puz­zling, sub­ject.

And while Aus­tralia has al­ways prided it­self on hav­ing the very best peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton — think Kim Bea­z­ley and Joe Hockey — it’s been two years since the US had any­one in Can­berra.

This is a yawn­ing gap in Aus­tralia-US re­la­tions. It's not smart, es­pe­cially at a time when China’s in­flu­ence in the South Pa­cific is grow­ing by the day.

Can you imag­ine if the US did not have some­one in Lon­don or Tokyo for the past two years?

RUN THIS UP THE FLAGPOLE

My un­der­stand­ing is that Mr Hockey is frus­trated at the White House’s lack of ur­gency; Richard Berry left his post as US am­bas­sador in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Ear­lier this year the US did ap­point for­mer naval com­man­der Harry Har­ris to the role, but he was in­stead sent to Seoul af­ter ten­sions flared with North Korea.

So here’s a name to throw into the mix: re­tired com­man­der of the United States Sev­enth Fleet, Ad­mi­ral Bob Nat­ter.

He has an acute un­der­stand­ing of the South Pa­cific, and in par­tic­u­lar Aus­tralia. He is a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to our coun­try and was a dis­tin­guished grad­u­ate of the US Naval War Col­lege with a master’s de­gree in busi­ness man­age­ment and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

In May 2000 he was awarded the Naval War Col­lege Dis­tin­guished Grad­u­ate Lead­er­ship Award.

At sea, Ad­mi­ral Nat­ter com­manded USS Chan­dler, USS An­ti­etam and, of course, the Sev­enth Fleet, head­quar­tered in Japan and Korea. It is the largest of the for­ward-de­ployed US fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 air­craft and 40,000 Navy and Ma­rine Corps per­son­nel.

This is a man who un­der­stands our geopo­lit­i­cal land­scape and the cru­cial strate­gic role that the United States plays in Aus­tralia’s in­ter­na­tional deal­ings within the ASEAN and South Pa­cific re­gions.

He’s the man for the job.

SO WHO NEEDS EN­E­MIES?

Even if he was not seen by the White House as the per­son for the job, can some­body in Wash­ing­ton make a de­ci­sion?

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pulled out of the APEC Sum­mit in PNG in Novem­ber, ef­fec­tively can­celling his first trip to Aus­tralia.

We’ll for­give you for that, Mr Pres­i­dent.

What we can’t for­give is your fail­ure to ap­point a new am­bas­sador to our coun­try, a snub that runs the risk of weak­en­ing a re­la­tion­ship in which our fore­fa­thers have spilt blood to­gether in many the­atres of war.

That’s not the way to a treat a friend.

y Army Sig­nal­man HenrWII. “Chicka’’ Glee­son in W

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