Malcolm Turnbull will want to use this week's visit to the US to promote the benefits of corporate tax cuts rather than exchanging helpful hints with Donald Trump on how to deal with sex scandals.
That's because despite his coarseness, his erratic nature, his boasting, his thin skin, his bluster, his abrupt reversals, his own version of "fake news", political reality is always more constrained – particularly given the checks and balances in the US political system that limit Trump's ability to do just as he wants.
The game of bluff is obviously high risk, particularly given an increasingly aggressive posture by China under Xi Jinping in areas like the South China Sea. Yet even if China and the US can't live with one another easily, they can't live well without each other either.
Despite trade tensions and the prospect of Trump pushing China by imposing more sanctions, mutual economic needs mean the game of bluff is not out of control so far.
Investors -- many of them of them newly christened, going by account data at discount brokerages -- sent $16.4 billion to U.S. stock mutual funds and ETFs between Jan. 2 and the market peak of Jan. 26, EPFR data show.
It happened at a chart level, the S&P 500’s average price over the last 200 days, that half the world was watching a week ago Friday.
Throughout the last 16 days, investors have been reacting to a rotating assortment of signals, among them the Cboe Volatility Index, inflation data and bond yields.
When anxiety first cropped up in the stock market two Fridays ago, yields on 10-year Treasuries had just jumped to 2.84 percent, up almost 40 basis points from the start of the year.
The convulsion was painful, particularly compared with the previous year and a half, in which the index never fell as much as 3 percent from a previous high.