Diplomacy is a tricky thing. Push too far, or too hard, and an alliance can crumble, but push too little and the leader begins to looks too weak to stand up for his or her country.
However, I believe that there is a difference between working cooperatively with an ally, and pandering to the wishes of an immoral and worryingly ignorant leader. Donald Trump does not seem to understand the checks and balances in place within his own country, nor does he understand the supremacy of the Constitution and its actors. All of this is worrying within a domestic context, but internationally, leaders should ensure that the President carries out his role. I am not suggesting that other heads of state or government dictate what the President’s role is, far from it, but merely that they should ensure that the President acts responsibly, and with morality.
‘‘Going to visit the newly inaugurated President in Washington was the right thing to do’’
One of these leaders is Theresa May. Going to visit the newly inaugurated President in Washington was the right thing to do, in order to maintain an alliance, and in order to discuss policies face to face. However, pandering to the whims of the Trump administration is not.
‘‘Internationally, leaders should ensure that the President carries out his role”
The horrifying executive orders signed recently, coupled with what has come out of Trump’s mouth (and on Twitter) should not be brushed aside. Theresa May should have reaffirmed that we will not stand by and watch him make derogatory comments, enforce inhumane policies, and make poorly thought out executive decisions that lead to avoidable deaths. If there ever was such as thing as British values, now would be a good time to show it. Post-Brexit we do need trade deals, but not at the cost of losing our humanity and compassion in the process.
“Donald Trump does not seem to understand the checks and balances in place”
Not engaging with the administration and showing our distaste or disapproval for policies only serves to legitimize their actions. Just because many of those in Britain are not attacked by Trump’s policies, does not mean we should idly stand by.
As the Labour MP Dawn Butler wrote last Tuesday, when American sneezes, the UK catches a cold, but what the USA has now is a really nasty virus, and we need to stop it from spreading around the world.
The UK has a privileged position as America’s closest and longest-standing ally. The Special Relationship has been the cornerstone of our foreign policy since the First World War. I have always supported it, and I am by no means anti-American. But, there is now a man in the White House who has no idea how to govern and does not care about Britain or the Special Relationship.
‘‘This is not the sort of leader our country should be regarding as our best friend’’
Being a good ally and a good friend also means telling them where they’re going wrong. It would be a huge, brave step to view our foreign policy outside of the prism of the Special Relationship for the first time in over 100 years. I think it is necessary to do so now. As we tussle with the challenges of Brexit, whether you voted Leave or Remain, we now must look to the whole globe for new relationships and trading opportunities.
‘‘I think British dignity is worth more than Theresa May’s hopes to feel she has some influence in Washington’’
That means looking beyond the USA too. I felt, quite frankly, ashamed to see our own Prime Minister, the representative of Britain abroad, rush to Washington to hold hands with a man who has openly boasted of sexual assault, demonised migrants, declared his support for torture, admires Vladimir Putin, proposed that more countries get nuclear weapons, and threatened war with China.
“I felt, quite frankly, ashamed to see our own Prime Minister... hold hands with a man who has openly boasted of sexual assault”
This is not the sort of leader our country should be regarding as our best friend. It is also smacks of desperation that because we are so bereft of trading options and despairing of what trade deals we can get because of Brexit, our Prime Minister went with the begging bowl, ready to sell British dignity for some meagre trading deal that will inevitably be heavily lopsided in favour of the USA.
I love my country, and I think British dignity is worth more than Theresa May’s hopes to feel she has some influence in Washington.