Have you noticed the growing bond between President Trump and PM Morrison?
Morrison has always been fulsome in his praise of Trump: “He says what he's going to do and then goes and does it; I can always rely on President Trump to follow through on what he says.”
During his recent visit to US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, participating in war games off Australia’s coast, Morrison effused: "In the time I've known him, he has demonstrated a real keen interest and knowledge of Australia and our relationship that extends back particularly more than a century in terms of the engagement of our armed forces and their armed services. He sees, I think, importantly our role in this part of the world and we are an important partner to the United States."
But it was Trump who made the latest move to consolidate the bond when he invited Morrison and his wife Jenny to the White House in September for an official visit that will include a rarely offered state dinner, the first invitation of its kind to an Australian prime minister since President George W Bush hosted John Howard in 2006.
Why is it so?
That Morrison admires Trump is explicable, but why does Trump admire Morrison?
It is apparent that Trump admires Morrison’s approach to ‘illegal immigrants’ and has suggested that the US follow Australia’s lead. Their antipathy to immigrants, and their willingness to make life difficult for them, makes them fellow travellers. Trump's wall along the border with Mexico to protect the US from unwanted immigrants equates with Morrison’s ‘stop the boats’ border protection that prevents them ever entering our country. The isolation of migrants that cross the Mexican border equates with Australia’s isolation of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island.
There is another reason Trump admires Morrison. Trump loves a winner. He lavished praise on Morrison for his ‘tremendous victory’ in the May election, declaring that he knew he could win. ‘He didn’t surprise me but he surprised a lot of people’.
There is yet another reason Trump admires Morrison. Being enormously wealthy, Trump is a man who has a high regard for wealth. A billionaire who has prospered through his entrepreneurship, he approves of those who have ‘made good’ through their own efforts. Morrison derives his regard for wealth from his Pentecostal religion. It preaches ‘prosperity theology’, which asserts that God wants you to be rich, and if you do the right thing, God will bless you financially. Conversely, if you’re not trying, don’t expect anything from God. Thus we hear Morrison reiterate ad nauseum his Pentecostal message for the man in the street: “If you have a go, you’ll get a go”. Don’t expect anything else; Morrison’s politics cannot be separated from his faith. Of course, not everyone goes along with Morrison’s ideology.
Pentecostalism, which takes the words in the Bible literally and therefore has no place for metaphors, does not preach inclusivity. Instead, it preaches individuality, with each of us being responsible for our own prosperity. If we are poor it is because we are not trying hard enough, not praying enough, or not tithing, as Pentecostals assert we should. Moreover, Pentecostals fervently believe Australia has a special place in the Second Coming of the Lord, which they assert will commence here and spread elsewhere.
We have much to fear as these two fellow travellers reinforce each other’s views about immigration, border protection, the persecution of unwanted immigrants and the maltreatment of asylum seekers. Moreover, their derogatory views about those who are poor, unemployed, on social security, homeless, or disabled, are mutually reinforcing, to the detriment of the disadvantaged and the destitute in both countries. No milk of human kindness will salve their words and actions. Morrison will ensure that there will be no ‘unfunded empathy’!
Moreover, as Trump’s aggression around the world brings us closer and closer to armed conflict, expect him to lean heavily on Morrison for support. Already he is attempting to entice Morrison to adopt his belligerent attitude towards Iran, and even more dangerously, is now seeking his support to counter any attempt by Iran to block the transport of oil via the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil travels. ABC News reports that “Australia is considering a ‘serious and complex’ request from the United States to help protect oil shipments against Iranian interference in the Persian Gulf.” Will Morrison be brave enough to say ‘No’ to Trump? You guess!
Rather than expanding this piece any further, I invite you to listen to two Schwartz Media 7 am podcasts, which you will find at https://7ampodcast.com.au. Scroll down and click 'Browse all episodes' to view the many podcasts on offer. There are two of particular relevance to this piece: Understanding Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalism, and The ballad of Trump and Scomo, which I came across after writing this piece. It shows I’m not the only one concerned about the Trump/Morrison alliance.
Make no mistake - each man is a threat to the social order in his own way; together they are menacing. Beware; be afraid!