01 May 2017

PM and President Trump to meet Thursday


The Australian reports today about the meeting this week on the USS Intrepid in New York City. Read the whole article here. In short there is a retelling of the testy telephone conversation in late January and the iconoclastic diplomatic behaviour of the neo-president, and some recommendations by Alan Dupont, staff writer.

He says, "Turnbull should pursue three objectives in his meeting with the US President: he should add his voice to those of other US allies urging Trump to play a constructive leadership role internationally; he should try to imbue the President with a deeper ­appreciation of the value of alliances in general and the Australia-US alliance in particular; and he should support a US accommodation with China that minimises the possibility of a full-blown conflict in Asia but pushes back against Chinese adventurism in the South China Sea."

On the ABC-TV Breakfast show this morning, the 'testy' call was described as "rocky' and "robust.' The presenters interviewed Professor James Curran. His bio reads like an academic champion. "Curran is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute and Professor of History at the University of Sydney and a Research Associate at the United States Studies Centre. His most recent book is Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War (2015). A former analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Curran was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University and in 2013 held the Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin."

I liked his evaluation of the meeting to come. He mentioned the site on the Intrepid as iconic, a warship in NYC, not a meeting in the White House nor at Mar-a-Lago, which he says is "a step down in protocol terms." His take on the meeting is one which will "showcase a defense relationship" from the past. He doesn't anticipate any grand announcements. Curran mentioned the last time a sitting Prime Minister and US president met on a watercraft was President Lyndon Baines Johnson meeting in May, 1968 with Prime Minister John Gorton. Aboard the Sequoia, the two men couldn't hear each other over the sounds of the engine on the yacht as it chugged up the Potomac River in DC. Curran says it's "altogether fitting and proper" for allies to remember the past, shared struggles and sacrifices. But his assessment is that this alliance is "anchored in memory, moored to memory" with "rhetoric and imagery that is awash in sentimentality" but not doing the "hard thinking about what China's rise" means for us, and appears to be an alliance which is "cruising in its own sea of complacency and nostalgia."

What about the TPP? We shall see. Is it only the past we honour, or will there be a consideration as Curran says, of "the broader US/ Asian regional posture." We in Australia are hopeful.

I liked the whole conversation and thought to share it with our followers. The meeting itself is worth considering, but beyond that one, what is the purpose of your meeting with those with whom you will meet this week, or even today? Is it merely a photo op? Is it for the purpose of history and sentimentality? Is it to produce something worthwhile and ongoing?

So, when you go to work this week, as I've already started on our Sunday yesterday, will your going be productive? Will your meet-ups with folks at the trivia night at the local pub be nostalgic or future-looking? Will there be significance to much of what you do today and this week? That's a consideration that is well worth your evaluation. To that, we call you.

Let's make the best of life today. 14 times in the Gospels, 7 times in the book of Acts and 8 times in the rest of the Newer Testament, the word "today" is used. Overall in the entire Bible, it's 190 times! Let's make the best of today. Let's hear Him today and do His will. Let's not let church be a 'photo op' of us with the Almighty.

"For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work. For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways. Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.” (Psa. 95.7-11)

Today. Seems a good day to make right with God. And your fellows. Are we good?

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