Donald Trump's telephone tirade a wake-up call for Australia's defence relationship with US

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Over a year ago, when Donald Trump was still battling to win the Republican Party's nomination, defence chiefs in Canberra were nervously watching his increasingly radical public pronouncements.


"This circus sideshow is really dragging on longer than I would've expected," one senior military leader noted at the time.

The comment was telling; no-one in the Australian Defence establishment or broader diplomatic community really believed Mr Trump had any chance of winning his party's nomination — let alone the White House.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2017 and the reality of Mr Trump is still yet to be fully appreciated by one of America's closest allies.