“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen”. “I want a parade like the one in France”, were the words that came out, in an almost childlike manner, when Donald Trump was courted by Emmanuel Macron’s military show on July 14th last year. A “relation spéciale”, the French president jested, when referring to the relationship that exists between the United States and France. Macron knows how the game of diplomacy works, which is more than one can say for the UK at this point in time.
With the president from across the pond coming to visit on July 13th, it is a great travesty that we are not giving him the full royal treatment. Yes, he’s getting to meet the queen, but I would contend that there is a distinct sense that Britain is selling itself short. Trump was like a child at Christmas when he fell in love with France’s display of ‘big guns’. It seems silly, therefore, that the UK is not utilising its own ‘big guns’ and throwing all the pomp and circumstance at Trump that it can muster. Yes, Trump is a dalcop, but after ruining our relationship with Europe, we should ensure that we do not do the same to our special relationship with the United States.
Yet this is exactly what I fear could be the consequence of the plethora of protesters that will turn-out to greet the overreacting man-child that is Mr. Trump. We are, after all, talking about the same individual who was only given Breitbart and Fox News opinions of him by his election campaign team, through fear that any other news may hurt his ego and culminate in him doing something more stupid than usual. From student to retiree though, the mentality that is shared by most of this so-called ‘march of millions’ perhaps has more in common with the President of the US than it may appear.
Yes, Trump is a dalcop, but after ruining our relationship with Europe, we should ensure that we do not do the same to our special relationship with the United States
The mentality to which I refer is, like Trump, politically myopic, ignorant, and guilty of double standards. Yes, dear readers, I said it. Where were the calls for a ‘march of millions’ to protest the royal treatment and honorary knighthood bestowed upon Robert Mugabe, whom by his visit in 1994 had already been responsible for a reign of terror that saw the deaths of tens of thousands of Zimbabweans? Or how about in 2007, when King Abdullah of the oppressive, theocratic kingdom of Saudi Arabia was met with no more than a thinly spread, few hundred protesters. Indeed, Britain has a history of controversial state visits as long as my arm, of which the aforementioned are but two.
Yet, these state visits were not met with nearly as many ‘dutiful activists’ exercising their democratic right to protest as the Donald Trump visit will attract. Why? Well, one reason is that this mentality is, like Trump, inconsistent and guilty of double standards: this is the mentality that refuses to criticise a regime through fear of being called racist or Islamophobic, which is of course preposterous. Do we have fewer willing protesters in the UK than we did in the 1990s? I highly doubt it. The mentality to protest is consistent, but the standards of said mentality are not. Alternatively, it could simply be ignorance of the far more heinous crimes committed by the likes of Robert Mugabe and King Abdullah.
Now, this is less serious than double standards in the works, but does perhaps put the ignoramus, that is, Donald J. Trump, in perspective when compared to the monsters the UK has played host to in the recent past in the name of the national interest. What is most concerning though is the blatant political myopia of the mentality of most planning to protest. Many of the protesters are, I would wager, the same citizens that harp on about concerning ourselves with the long term economic implications of Brexit – and rightly so. However, they are arguably falling so very far below the mark when they insist on protesting something that they, for one, cannot do anything about, and two, have clearly failed to consider the possible long term consequences of their actions.
This is the mentality that refuses to criticise a regime through fear of being called racist or Islamophobic, which is of course preposterous
Even if half the UK population turn-out to protest, Donald Trump will still be president of the USA and Theresa May is unlikely to stop the visit halfway through. It will accomplish nothing meaningfully positive at the end of the day, apart from maybe make a few virtue signaling narcissists feeling good about themselves. The only outcome, if any, will be a straining of UK/US relations, as the oversensitive, unpredictable ‘leader’ of the United States makes a sloppy attempt at putting his foot down – something we do not need right now, or indeed in the long term due to half the populations’ decision to pull us out of Europe. Yes thanks a lot for that.
I therefore proffer that we should welcome Mr. Trump to this country and grit our teeth as we shake his hand. The more stereotypically British it can be made, the better. We’ve just spent £30 million on a wedding for Christ’s sake, might as well put all the splendour of UK heritage to good use. More splendour also means more distraction from protests, a tactic employed well by Macron in the face of protesters in France. The fewer protesters there are, the more successful the visit will be.
The British people should think strategically about this and not lower themselves to the reactive level of Mr. Trump. As Stoker puts it, modern ‘politics is destined to disappoint’, yet it is necessary that we play the game well, and protesting the president of our transatlantic cousins is not the way to go about it.