30th June 2018
Further anti-Trump protests scheduled for 13th July in the UK
A divided nation and a divisive President pretty much sums up the position in the United States of America at the moment. Well into the second year of his presidency, Donald Trump is showing no sign of being any less idiosyncratic in his behaviour or any less unpredictable in his policy pronouncements. His arrival in the UK on Friday, 13th July for a three day “working visit”, will nevertheless involve him meeting the Queen, as Head of State in the UK’s archaic system, as well as meeting Theresa May at the PM’s country retreat, Chequers.
Protests are being organised across the UK, with the focus being upon London, to mobilise opposition to the politics of xenophobia, race hate and bigotry which Trump represents. In the past six weeks almost 2,000 children have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. While their parents have taken the decision to flee their countries of origin for a variety of reasons, associated with drug cartel killings and the lawlessness which still characterises parts of Central America, this is no reason to criminalise four year olds who have no choice but to flee with their families.
Typically, the US has a different approach to migrants arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala or Mexico to those arriving from Cuba, who are greeted as anti-Communist heroes. If the resources currently directed towards undermining democracy in Cuba were used to restrict the supply lines and activities of the drug barons in other parts of Latin America the flow of migrants at the US border would be stemmed.
For Trump though the numbers are not necessarily the issue. Blaming immigrants for the problems of crime, social disorder and the economy is the last resort of every fascist scoundrel in history, so for Trump any level of migration would be deemed undesirable in his quest, as characterised by House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, to “make America white again.”
Trump’s UK visit will be preceded by a NATO summit in Brussels on 12th July and followed by a meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki on 16th July. It promises to be an interesting few days. Trump has made clear on many occasions his contempt for NATO, regarding it as an organisation into which the US pays too much and gets too little back in return. The expectation on NATO members is that they spend 2% of their GDP on ‘defence’, a target which the UK is the only European government fool enough to meet, part of the reason for its crumbling transport infrastructure and public services.
It is anyone’s guess how Trump will play his hand at the NATO meeting but his discussions with Vladimir Putin, following close on, have made NATO generals nervous that Trump will make a major concession to Putin on arms or troop deployments, in order to grandstand on the world stage. Both the NATO generals and US security services are well aware that Putin’s greater nous, political experience and KGB training are likely to mean he is more disciplined in any negotiation and capable of getting the upper hand over the bungling game show host.
Meanwhile, back in Trump heartland, where even the east coast is regarded as a foreign land, a storm has broken out over the actions of a small town restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. Last Friday night Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was half way through her meal at the Red Hen in Lexington when owner Stephanie Wilkinson asked her to leave. This was based upon a staff vote in protest at the president’s policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexican border.
The Red Hen has been bombarded with eggs and excrement, besieged by angry protesters and as a result has been forced to close. “Bikers for Trump” (not the environmentally friendly cyclist type) are planning a rally outside the restaurant. A Greek restaurant next door, not involved in the original incident, has received a bomb threat. The wine store next door has received abusive phone calls, including one suggesting that the owners should “rot in hell”. At the same time the Red Hen has been inundated by flowers from those supporting the stance of the staff.
This is the politics of Trump’s America at the moment. The Red Hen incident has prompted a national debate on civility and politics. Needless to say, the positions taken on the issue are poles apart. The debate will no doubt continue to rage back home, while Trump takes to Airforce One and pedals his poison overseas. For action in the UK, in order to make 13th July a day for Trump to remember, go to https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/