Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dealing with The Donald - can we find a sensible way forward

As I have already posted, if the UK wants to have any influence over Donald Trump, it is far more important to be respected by him than to be liked. He made very clear in his book "The Art of the Deal" that he respects people who stand up to him.

(That, incidentally, is one of several reasons why appointing Nigel Farage as British Ambassador to Washington at Trump's suggestion would have been an incredibly silly thing to do.)

There are plenty of people both in America and in the rest of the world, and on both the right and the left of politics, who regard President Trump's executive order regarding travel, as, in the words of a good article on the CAPX site, "a colossal own goal."

Those who have criticised it include fellow Republicans such as Senator Ben Sasse and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who called aspects of its implementation “crazy.”

“I think that the real problem is that it was vetted badly,” said Schwarzenegger.

“I know what he’s trying to accomplish, and his fear about having people come in from other places and cause harm to the country and all of that stuff. But there is another way of going about it to do it the right way and to accomplish still all the same goals. And so I think that they were hasty with it.”

What you would never imagine from the press coverage, however, is that among American voters more people appear to support the ban than oppose it.

No, I have not started taking opinion poll results as gospel, but they are more accurate than going by what a majority of people in either the MSM or social media are writing or just by what you want to believe, and the polls which have been published suggest Trump's travel has polarised America, with a Reuters- IPSOS poll suggesting 49% supported the ban, 41% opposed it and 10% didn't know.

In this country those who want to do some good are racking their brains to know how to make the US think more carefully about this issue, while those who want to feel good about it have organised a student-politics style petition asking for the cancellation of a planned state visit by Donald Trump to Britain, for which no date has yet been set.

Since Trump's executive order is a 90-day temporary measure while the US immigration system is reviewed, and we don't yet have a date for the state visit, it is not clear whether it would fall whether this order is actually in place anyway. But for the sake of argument, let's suppose it does,

Regardless of what you think of their new President the USA is our most important ally and a hugely important trading partner. It would cause huge harm to Britain not to have good relations with the USA. This does not mean that we cannot disagree with the US government but some of those disagreements are best expressed diplomatically in private.

It is particularly unfortunate that some people on both sides have tried to drag Her Majesty the Queen into the debate, as by suggesting she might be embarrassed if she has to meet Mr Trump.


A quick look at some of the people who the Queen has previously had to welcome, after former Prime Ministers invited them to state visits, shows that Her Majesty has been required to roll out the red carpet for

* Mass murderer Robert Mugabe
* Chinese President Xi whose attitude to dissent makes Trump look like a soggy liberal
* Vladimir Putin who has just annexed part of Ukraine, bombed hospitals to atoms in Syria, and whose party at home is in the process of decriminalising wife-beating
* Emperor Hirohito of Japan
* The King of Saudi Arabia (on a subsequent occasion to the one on which she insisted on driving him personally)

If she can cope with meeting them I suspect she can cope with Donald Trump.

You know, it might just possibly be a better idea for those who are unhappy with Trump's policies to let him come here, and then organise a demonstration against his policies when he is here.

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