Politics, books, history, foreign affairs, Caribbean, Middle East, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, China, Britain, United Nations, Oil For Food, Bush the Deserter, sex and rum and 1776 and lots of fun things from someone who has more columns than the Parthenon.
If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world I would say it’s not China rushing to the front but rather the front runners have stepped back leaving the place to China,” Zhang said.
“Oh Brave New World, that has such people in it,” Miranda gushed in The Tempest, but Aldous Huxley put it in perspective, invoking her exclamation to name his dystopia. And dystopic is the name of the game. Surely I am not alone in wondering whether we are living through some dark simulated alternative reality.
Looking at the swamp monsters dominating Trump’s cabinet, it is difficult to see how there could be a bright side as he celebrated the victory of ordinary Americans while surrounded with people who have worked so hard and consistently to steal American workers’ pensions, their healthcare and their savings.
For over two decades I have written about Trump as a blustering con-man, a bully, a bilker of debts and wages – so, in the interests of objectivity, I should refer to the stopped clock moments when he has been right.
He was quite correct that the Clintons and their cabal had completely ignored ordinary Americans across the heartland both in rhetoric and reality. He was quite right to scorn the idea that their defeat was because of a Kremlin plot – and he is even right that the foreign policy establishment in Washington had humiliated and taunted Moscow all these years.
A year ago, he even suggested Israel should pay for its own weapons, but with his eminently consistent inconsistency he has now renewed the “get-out-of-the-security-council-free” card for the Zionist Fundamentalists around Netanyahu – thereby probably fanning the flames of the Islamic Fundamentalism against which he has pledged eternal warfare.
So, what are the implications of Trump’s inauguration for Britain and its role in the world? To begin with, Trump’s leaning to Likud and its even more toxic allies has already reinforced Britain’s slavishness to them as shown by the abstention in the Paris Middle East Conference.
In the days of Mrs T, the foreign office establishment’s residual respect for international law, not least about the Palestinians, plus the commercial imperatives of trading weapons systems with the Saudis, meant that Britain would have no compunction in voting with the rest of the world against the US and Israel in the Security Council.
May’s utterances suggest that even if Britain supported the last UN resolution condemning settlements, things are changing. Israeli commentators are gloating at the idea of an Anglo-Saxon axis that would automatically back Israel – Trump, May and Turnbull in Australia. Since the original radical Islamic
Fundamentalists in Riyadh have formed a de facto alliance with Israel against Iran, that suggests that May will be able to continue pandering to Israeli expansionism and while expanding weapons sales to the Kingdom. Insofar as the Tory government has any economic plan to cope with the catastrophic consequences of Brexit, weapons sales to unsavoury regimes probably top the sales bill.
Thanks to the alleged special relationship with the US, Britain has more often than not been Washington’s Trojan Horse in Brussels, but at least had to make compromises to persuade others to form a consensus.
With no EU consensus as an excuse, May’s attitude suggests that we will return to the “Yo Blair!” days under George W Bush, and she will volunteer to carry out any unsavory task that Trump whimsically grabs her for, and that will be most palpable in terms of playing Sancho Panza to Trump’s Don Quixote at the UN.
That has other repercussions, since Russian and China, in particular, have been playing a more active role in the UN, with Beijing advancing to the second biggest bill payer and a major contributor of peace-keepers. If Britain’s vote is folded uncritically into the US’s as the latter becomes semidetached from the UN, it allows the Russian and Chinese to play a much larger role in the organization that, as Kofi Annan said, has a unique legitimizing role in the world.
President Xi in Davos is already considering taking up the Orange-head’s burden. This will doubtless cheer the hearts of those whose concern over Trump is combined with nostalgia for the glory days of the ComIntern. However, while the new American President refuses to answer questions from stroppy journalists, the rulers in Moscow and Beijing lock them up outright, and what is more, will do the same to any unruly bloggers and cheaters as well.
On the stopped clock principle, it is reassuring that Trump wants the Cold War with Russia to finish, but it is less so if he wants to start an economic war with China, or even to team up with the protector of the Baathist butchers of Aleppo. It is time for sober consideration of Britain’s place in the world, not for a reflexive leap from the European frying pan to rally to the Last Trump.