The Trumpian threat to this week’s good shipbuilding news

It’s been a good week for the SA economy and the shipbuilding industry. The  confirmation that six Hunter frigates will be built here, followed by the AUKUS nuclear subs gives a bit of confidence to an industry that changes direction more often than prime Eddie Betts weaving his way towards goal.

Still, it’s not all good news. We need to talk about the giant orange blob on the horizon in the form of Donald Trump. Trump’s America First mantra is just about his entire world view. It’s why he has so many admirers in the US, a country with a deep streak of insularity.

It’s also why he still has a chance of becoming president a second time in November, despite, well….everything else.

Trump has well demonstrated in his previous stint as president that he has no time for global alliances. No time for countries who have been long-term security partners of the US. In his first term, one of his first acts was to junk the Trans Pacific trade partnership.

In that term, he also took regular pot shots at NATO for not contributing their agreed share of funding. A regular Trump trope is that allies of the US takes his country for a ride when it comes to defence.

 Running down NATO is a trait he shares with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Trump was at it again last week. Going a step further and actually encouraging Russia to invade NATO countries.

 “‘No I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want,’’ Trump said.

Last month, The Australian reported that a couple of defence people who could be expected to feature in any new Trump government said it would be “crazy’’ for the US to sell three Virginia-class submarines to Australia early next decade. This sale is a key component of the AUKUS agreement, which also includes Britain.

The argument being that in an increasingly insecure world, the US doesn’t have enough submarines and shouldn’t be giving them away, even to allies.

While the US congress has passed the necessary legislation to sell the boats to Australia, there is a clause in there that could revoke the approval. The sale can only be eventually approved provided it did not “degrade United States undersea capabilities’’.

There is such an element of the absurd with Trump that it’s tempting to write off most of what he says as some kind of theatre for the masses. But, the better approach is to believe him when he says that he would rip up NATO deals, that he believes he won the 2020 election, that he would be a “dictator for a day’’, that the leaders he most admires are Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un.

There was a point of view last time around that Trump would grow into the presidency, that the responsibilities of office would somehow make him a more considered, sober figure. That turned out to be a fantastically optimistic assessment. Ripping up AUKUS would cause him no concern.

Trump has no regard for anything outside what he regards as his own best interests.  And that could spell danger all the way down in Adelaide.

On the audiobook front, there has been more progress. Listened to Jane Harper’s The Dry, then followed that up with the sequel Forces of Nature. The sequel was fine but the original was highly enjoyable. Easy enough to see why it was made into a film.

In the two weeks since the last post, the reading of books has been a little tardy. A few reasons for that, but the main one being I haven’t been on the bus to work as often. Still on Alisdair Gray’s Lanark and the good news is that at least I have delved further into it this time. But the more I read it, the more I like it.

Australian rural noir hasn’t featured much on my reading list, beyond the excellent Garry Disher, whose Paul Hirsch series is set in the mid-North of the state. Maybe it’s just my SA bias and the fact that much of the settings are identifiable to local readers, but Disher does produce high-quality crime fiction.