Victory for Donald Trump in the US presidential election could spell disaster for the Anzus alliance and Australia's trust in America, warns a leading strategic analyst.
Professor Paul Dibb says if Trump wins in the November 8 poll, Australia will need to bring its concerns to the new administration, focusing on the alliance and the importance of a US commitment to a military presence in Asia.
"But we also need to think through a worst-case contingency that involves the very future of the Anzus alliance and our trust in America. The potential for a disaster in the relationship shouldn't be dismissed," he said in an article on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute website.
Professor Dibb, a former deputy secretary with the Defence Department, said Canberra would be relieved if Hillary Clinton became president as she was well known from her time as Secretary of State. But the implications of a Trump administration were much more difficult to predict. He was against free trade and had called for US allies to pay more for defence and that wasn't good news for Australia.
Others have suggested the US system would counter Trump excesses but a US President had many powers to mount negative initiatives.
"He can undermine confidence among allies that he'll initiate actions to support them and he can use the broad licence of US trade laws that give an American president powers to pursue punitive action against trade partners," he said.