In other words, the Australian and American defence ministers and their governments are trying to conduct relations pretending Donald Trump doesn’t exist. “Oh, who is the mad king shouting from the top of the castle?” we ask. “What mad king?” the officials reply, straight-faced, trying to be heard over the ruckus.
This approach might work. Bureaucracies and militaries are big machines that tick over day-to-day without the need for top-level oversight. But, in the event of a crisis where Australia actually needed real US help, ministers and secretaries would need to climb the stairs to the top of the castle to consult the mad king.
Which sane country would wager its national security on the sanity of the mad king? Would you catch him in a moment of lucidity, or would he be preoccupied with a non-existent terrorist attack on Sweden, perhaps?