Now that yet another week of President Trump’s frantic activity is safely behind us, and slowly receding into memory, we can reflect on the chaotic wasteland his foreign trip left behind.
The US President visited three places: Brussels – where he met the key European leaders, London – to see Theresa May and the Queen, plus Helsinki – where he held a summit with Vladimir Putin.
While most pundits noted the apparently strange fact that Trump was much friendlier to (those perceived as) US enemies than to its traditional friends, this shouldn’t surprise us too much. Instead, our attention should turn in another direction. As is often the case with Trump, reactions to his acts are more important than what he actually did or said.
Let us begin by comparing what Trump uttered with what his partners said. When Trump and May were asked by a journalist what they think about the flow of immigrants to Europe, Trump brutally and honestly rendered his populist anti-immigrant position: immigrants are a threat to the European way of life; they are destabilizing the safety of our countries and bringing violence and intolerance. So, we should keep them out.
A careful listener could easily notice that Theresa May said exactly the same thing, just in a more diplomatic and “civilized” way: immigrants bring diversity, they contribute to our welfare, but we should carefully check whom we let in. Thus, we received a clear taste of the choice which is more and more the only one presented to us: direct populist barbarism or a more civilized version of the same politics, barbarism with a human face.
[Extract. Appeared in RT on 24 July 2018.]