Kerry defended the engagement effort, saying the US would not be played for “suckers” by Iran. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful energy production, while the US and other countries suspect it is aimed at achieving atomic weapons capability.
Syria and the US budget crisis have shaken Australians’ faith in their alliance with Washington, McKinley said.
“It means that those who rely on the alliance as the cornerstone of all Australian foreign policy and particularly security policy are less certain — it’s created an element of uncertainty in their calculations,” he said.
Running against the tide of concern, leaders in the Philippines are banking on its most important ally to protect it from China’s assertive claims in the South China Sea. Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Manila still views the US as a dependable ally despite the many challenges it is facing.
“We should understand that all nations face some kind of problems, but in terms of our relationship with the US, she continues to be there when we need her,” Gazmin said.
“There’s no change in our feelings,” he said. “Our strategic relationship with the US continues to be healthy. They remain a reliable ally.”
However, as Cordesman said: “The rhetoric of diplomacy is just wonderful, but it almost never describes the reality.”
That reality worldwide, he said, “is a real concern about where is the US going. There is a question of trust. And I think there is an increasing feeling that the US is pulling back, and its internal politics are more isolationist so that they can’t necessarily trust what US officials say, even if the officials mean it.”
Additional reporting by Brian Murphy, Robert Reid, Hrvoje Hranjski, Gregory Katz, Josef Federman, Rod McGuirk, Sarah DiLorenzo and David McHugh