You can see the world dividing, as the USA and China continue locked in a trade war.
The global division began when Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership – of which Australia was a part. With the TPP, Trump could have dealt with China on behalf of “the world”. Once this was gone, he was free to just speak for America and that is where the divisions began. This seems to be what he wanted all along.
Then the trade war with China revved up and seems unstoppable.
One result (unintended consequence) of the Trump approach has been to unite the 15 countries trying to create the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – the biggest free trade deal in history. Australia is part of this, as is, surprisingly, India. So too are Japan, China and Indonesia. The USA is not.
So what would a divided world look like? China on one side (potentially with Japan, Australia, India and the other 15 RCEP countries), USA on the other, different digital technologies and communication platforms – much more fundamental that just selling cheap shirts and tennis shoes. This is a huge divide, not just about trade.
Australia can probably play this division on both teams – we probably have to, but it will be one hell of a balancing act. Remaining close to America while engaging with China and others in the RCEP could see a win-win for Aussies. But others might have a different view.