If Malcolm Turnbull needed any further confirmation that being in strategic lockstep with the US, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, is going to be far tougher for him than his predecessors, events in recent weeks will have fulfilled his worst fears.

Turnbull -- like Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and John Howard before him -- has thrown his more or less unconditional support behind the US, further cruelling Australia’s control over its own destiny. But this comes at a pivotal point in history as China’s increasingly self-assured rise shifts the fulcrum of international diplomatic focus to the Asia Pacific.