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Donald Trump and the rest of the world

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WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition 2019 Road To Majority Policy Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, on June 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

It was a humble, sober and well-behaved Donald Trump, president of America, the strongest and most powerful nation on earth that sat next to HRM Queen Elizabeth of England at the banquet during Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom first week of June.

It is strange, isn’t it, even apocalyptic that we should be speaking of the good or bad behavior of the president of the great America, like a school boy! Never mind that a baby blimp flew across London while the visit lasted and the divisive and intrusive Trump largely moved around the city of London by helicopter, and protesters gave a hell of time to security forces, and that Jeremy Corbyn stayed away from the banquet and some of the royals did not fancy taking pictures with the Trump clan who traveled just to sit in the presence of old money as represented by British royalty, and that Trump saw the visit as a successful one with no demonstrations against his visit!

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Trump behaved well. Can you beat that? He did not walk ahead of the old queen like a horseman leading an old horse as he did during his first visit in July 2018. Just imagine Obama committing that faux pas! I was embarrassed that any man with a teeny weeny bit of gentility added to his person could treat the queen that way. So his handlers must have done a lot of homework and stood on pins and needles while the visit lasted. Not a pleasant position to be in! Keep to the script. Watch the queen’s movements. Reduce your tweets while in residence. Well, trust the British for handling delicate situations with finesse. It was Prince of Wales that walked to the helipad to receive the president this time and so no opportunity to walk a long distance with a guest with poor table manners! As long as he stayed within the script he was okay.

But how do you control what loose cannon can say at a press conference anyway? But he managed to praise Theresa May whom he had so ungraciously deprecated for not ‘handling the Brexit process properly’ before landing in beautiful old London. He also did not spare his old foe Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London calling him a ‘stone-cold loser’. Khan responded and likened the American to an 11 year old’. He also meddled into British politics by recommending controversial Boris Johnson as the right man to do the job of the prime minister! The rather embarrassed Johnson declined meeting with the august trouble-making visitor from a former colony and had a telephone chat with him!

Now, who does not know that state officials should not openly dabble into the politics of another country? Only Trump, apparently. That is obviously the reason he didn’t mind the Russians monkeying with the American elections that catapulted him into the White House. Indeed he urged Russia and Assange of Wikileaks to hack into Clinton’s emails. It is this same Assange that America wants to bring to its soil to be tried. Too much confusion from this president! Which is not to say that some powerful nations do not try to interfere to push an agenda, whether by deceit or open/subtle threats, when elections are coming in strategic countries! What is America’s business in Venezuela or Ukraine or Cuba?A mumu question you might say!

Trump’s visit coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landing through which the allied forces had gained a foothold in Europe in order to dislodge the bloody Nazis from the continent in 1944. Well, it was a somber ceremony if ever there was one.

With the Queen in attendance we watched some veterans now in their 90s recall those horrible days of war which they fought for the sake of humanity. The grave sites, I mean the cemeteries, looked so beautiful that it was almost attractive to die as a war hero. Just that the occupants of those ground holes have no knowledge of the celebrations!

But it was indeed a celebration of humanity and the multilateralism which governed the world during and after the Second World War. It was moving to read accounts of a fifteen year old who lied about his age in order to join the army.

At nearly one hundred years old, he came alive with memories of the war while being interviewed by CNN’s Christine Amanpour. I then wondered whether the poignancy of the moment was lost on Trump. He was called upon to read the prayer offered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt which he delivered to the nation by radio on the evening of June 6, 1944. He delivered so very well that I wondered if all the noise from Trump is not just blustering.

And this brings me to the import of the celebration of the import of Normandy by representatives of the allied powers. The world which Trump and his base envision is one of America first in a most unwholesome manner.

At Normandy Trump was made to recite the 1944 President Roosevelt prayer. It was poignant. All leaders knew that those boys were going to die, perhaps in their thousands. But what was at stake was higher than individual lives. World civilization was under threat from the madness in Germany. The allied forces knew this. The world after 1945 was therefore built on alliances that would make a resurgence of another Satan difficult or impossible. It is this time-tested alliance President Trump is threatening to unhinge.

The Queen was the only one to get away with chastising the rampaging bull from the White house in the pre-dinner speech for being at odds with the western alliance with his populist ‘America First’. Thank heavens Trump stuck to the script and perhaps was too awed to contradict the Great Queen.

Trump needs to be told that America first entails discharging its obligations to the free world and using its God-given resources to provide stability in a dithering and confused world. If Trump learnt that lesson during the trip to the UK and the Normandy celebration then we would say that indeed the trip was a success for the preservation of humanity.


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