When I was learning karate as a kid it wasn't what I was expecting. Our instructor explained we were learning these skills to avoid conflict. It was real Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" wisdom - subduing the enemy without fighting - which, while very wise, was very confusing to a kid wanting to learn how to win punch-ups. Still, this martial arts instructor should have realised these naughty kids weren't here to keep the peace. My own dreams had been to fight three or four older kids at school giving me grief for being a show-off. I figured if Bruce Lee could thrash fifty men in "Way of the Dragon", including Chuck Norris, surely I could lay out a few bullies. I told the other kids that, if you get in first and get your moves right, you can beat any kid in the school. "Would you fight Big Red (not his real name)?" asked one kid. Big Red was this huge ranga who scared everyone at school. "I confidently replied "If I had to fight Big Red, I would fight Big Red!" Big Red confronts me in the playground "Hey Brendan Lee! Did you say you wanted to fight me?" "No," I replied. "A karate kid tells me you want to fight me," he said. "What I actually said was that if I had to fight you..... then..... and only then... would I fight," was my sheepish reply. "Well, don't say anything or I will fight you," he said. Well, as you could guess, I kept talking so we had a fight. I lost badly. Ironically I used wrestling and boxing in this fight over my martial arts prowess. Many rumours went around the school after the fight, including fake news that I won the fight; fake news I did nothing to quash. So, Big Red bashed me up again and more convincingly. Again, fake news of my victory abound. If someone asked me to confirm my successful title defence I would respond "I don't want to talk about it". In the end, an exasperated Big Red came to me and shook my hand and at only thirteen I became friends with the biggest and toughest kid in the school. After that, none of these other high school bullies troubled me ever again. Perhaps President Trump's orange hair and 190cm or 6' 3" height has brought back memories of Big Red after all these years. But really, I think it's the inestimable value of having a friend like America who has the desire and ability to keep us safe. Critics of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent visit to the United States seem to be ignoring the obvious. In only the second state dinner of Donald Trump's presidency, last week the United States displayed again they are our closest ally and best friend. A friend who does not help you or try to protect you from threats or enemies is not your friend, no matter how much they party with you and laugh with you during good times. Many countries over the last fifty years - too many to number - have leaned on the United States to end their human rights atrocities. If there was or is a country anywhere in the world that had the power to hurt Australia, the reason they do not is the United States. At some level, we here in Australia enjoy our freedom every day because our would-be enemies fear our friendship with the US. How can we put a price on this? Yet, some are putting a price on our friendship, condemning the $150 million pledged by Scott Morrison towards US space travel, including a 2024 moon landing, even though this money will provide jobs and technology for Australia. Aid to Australians, especially struggling farmers, should always be the first concern of this government, however, Australia's $150 million pledge works out at less than $6.12 per Australian. A small price to work side by side with a country that's always had our back. Surveys may say otherwise, but if we were ever in real strife, it is the United States of America that would still be Australia's best friend.