I want to preface this article by stating I am completely opposed to Donald Trump. I think he is utterly ridiculous, politically incompetent, narcissistic, immature although also incredibly entertaining. I must however, concede he is America’s president who was democratically elected and therefore a decision that should be respected; especially because politically it has nothing to do with me.
For far too long, we countries who are fortunately situated in the illustrious and rich west have felt entitled, and been so pretentious in the ways we run our countries we feel it should be forced upon the world. We arrogantly look down at countries in the East and declare their dictatorships or communist ways as backwards and awry, throwing men and money in the form of military powers to right their wrongs. It was the cause of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and if we’re honest its the cause behind the current problems in the Middle East.
If people in these countries were not happy with the way their countries were run, there’d be much stronger attempts for protest and there would be larger numbers of people looking to emigrate (discounting those fleeing due to civil wars caused by us eliminating their leaders). It is not our place to decide who runs these countries because we frown at their methods; we wouldn’t like it if Russia chose to influence our elections because they disliked our ways – this has been demonstrated with the uproar surrounding the calamity that was the US Presidential Election.
My point being, as a country that just made a monumental decision in last years referendum (a decision I must admit angered, disappointed and worried me) leaving us in the wind both economically and politically; we now have an unelected Prime Minister which is arguably something to worry about more than a disliked but democratically elected President.
When he was inaugurated many Americans were understandably scared and upset leading to marches and protests; what I don’t understand were the people protesting in this country? It neither makes a difference nor is it relevant unless they were all Americans holidaying at the same time convening in one place?
What is worse, is after Theresa May made the important visit to our longest and most important ally and invited him to a state visit back in the UK, there was outrage and protests. There were two petitions circulating – a pro Trump state visit and the alternative – amassing over 2 million signatures meaning it had to be put before the House of Commons as a point of discussion. I am all for the fairness and equality of a democracy but that is just plain stupidity.
I understand protesting against issues you’re passionate for/against, especially when they are impactful issues. For example, a protest that would make sense, the Brexit referendum was decided by a margin of 3.8% (about 2.4m from a total population of 64.1m) based on a leave campaign that has since been proven to be full of sh*t on an exponential level – see Nigel Farage on GMB if you don’t believe me.
Unfortunately this is not what our fine representatives chose to waste their outrageous grunting skills and cheers on thanks to these previously discussed worthless petitions. They were discussing the prospect of a Trump state visit with discussing it being an over-exaggeration; they were merely talking about it as they were never in a million years going to humiliate our most important ally by withdrawing an already publicized invitation.
A state visit is the visit of another nation’s leader to the UK but with all the bells and whistles of being hosted by the Queen; giving them the false sense of royalty that ruling almost any other country doesn’t match up to due to the history and glamour perceived to being the King/Queen of England. It is, in effect, our best way to butter up other world leaders by showing them UK via our best tool of propaganda; the royal family and Buckingham Palace.
As a result, the Queen during her 65 year reign, has hosted over 100 state visits; safe to say she’s pretty experienced in handling them. Amongst those, she has hosted; Mobutu Sese Seko [Zaire], Jiang Zemin [China], King Abdullah [Saudi Arabia], Vladamir Putin [Russia] and Nicolae Ceausescu [Romania].
Now let me give context to some of those names. Mobutu Sese Seko was an oppressive dictator of Zaire (who famously paid £10m to host the Rumble in the Jungle) who was an important cold war ally which trumped the fact he ruled 31 years in which he carried out ethnic cleansing and embezzled somewhere between $4-15billion.
Jiang Zemin was the President of China, successfully taking power following the famous massacre of Tiananmen Square in which peaceful protesters against the government were gunned down in cold blood because they refused to leave until demands were met.
King Abdullah, a man of 30 or more wives, was leader of Saudi Arabia – a country prizing oil and wealth above human rights – whilst Nicolae Ceausescu was a communist leader of Romania who ruled as a dictator for 25 years over his cold, starved and deprived people until they finally turned on him via revolution resulting in his execution; notably not dissimilar to the ousted Gaddafis and Husseins we did our best to neutralize.
With these people in mind is it not a bit hypocritical to make such a big deal out of a Trump state visit – for the sake of balance, most of the dodgy visitors we have ‘welcomed’ were met with strong protest.
I understand it is extremely premature. Only two US Presidents have previously been extended the invitation and both were well into their presidential terms before offered (George W Bush was 978 days in and Barack Obama was 758 days) and both of them were allies of us both against Iraq and Afghanistan at the time of their visits.
Trump on the other hand has barely been in office two months and is so controversial he has the widely disliked Bush actually defending the media! He’s also alienated both the Latin and Muslim peoples both in the US and globally due to his statements and his political actions with many citing his promise for a wall and his botched travel ban. Also, with a state visit being funded by the taxpayers it will be a difficult sell paying for a holiday (for all intents and purposes) for a man famed for his riches.
My argument to these points is that we are in a position of desperation. Our Prime Minister is very limited in power due to her lack of validation as an unelected leader. Also, with such an uncertain future due to the fact no-one truly knows how badly Brexit could impact our economy it makes sense to get closer with America; particularly if we can exploit Donald Trump’s well known soft spot for the UK and secure a much needed reassurance in the form of a trade deal with a big economy. It would also go a long way to giving us a position of strength negotiating with the EU if we have something to fall back on.
I’d also point out, as much as we all dislike Trump he’s only two months in (even though it seems like forever) and so he still may not become the President we fear and expect he will become. Certainly he’s more tolerable than a Vladamir Putin or a Mobutu Sese Seko and it would take a host of human rights violations to put him on their level – not that its an impossibility that it could become a reality by three years time.
In summary, Parliament have got much more important things to do/pretend to do than discuss what a Trump visit would mean. It’s not an endorsement of his political views, he won’t even be speaking to the House. In fact, other than the fact we’d be paying for a fancy holiday for an asshole, the only other negative to this visit will be the inevitable smugness and reappearance of Nigel Farage who would undoubtedly lap up the attention if/when this visit occurs. Other than that, its UK propaganda to secure allegiance and maybe more from an important ally; and if anyone is likely to fall under the spell of it I’d put money on it being the narcissistic Trump who’s interior designer would worship Buckingham Palace. Therefore I say let him visit, and if you really disagree, stand on the mall with a handmade sign and catchy slogans and see if he cares.
As for the queen, I’m sure she’ll cope, if she can handle mass murderers I’m sure she can deal with a twitter warrior in a bad toupee.