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Trump – a clear and present danger to international order

January 30, 2017

Donald Trump’s arbitrary ban on immigration from seven Muslim states and his slamming of the door to all refugees will cause huge damage to the US around the world. Rather than make America safer it will deepen hatred among its enemies. I will also trigger revulsion among its friends. By imposing a blanket ban on Muslim immigrants Trump is handing a propaganda victory to the dangerous fundamentalists who hate western democracies. By shutting out refugees he is tearing up the treaties between civilised states that say we have a duty to save and welcome those in danger. Trump is a New Yorker. How the Statue of Liberty must be weeping…

Trump is behaving as President just as he did on the campaign trail. Some people might welcome a politician keeping their promises…but Trump’s campaign rhetoric was so extreme that few people expected him to be as extreme in office. Yet so far he has almost destroyed diplomatic relations with Mexico. He has spoken approvingly of the use of torture. In his inauguration speech he said his trade policy would be “America First”. This should make shudder those who thought Britain would be better off outside the EU.

What next? If I lived in Ukraine or Estonia or Latvia I’d be pretty worried. Trump wants to cosy up to Putin. He has questioned the fundamental principle of NATO, that an attack on one is an attack on all, with a duty to respond. East European NATO members honoured this commitment after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Trump seems little inclined to listen to his security chiefs, bumping one of them off the National Security Council to make way for an “alt-right” journalist and Trump devotee.

The majority of Americans (and let’s not forget Hillary Clinton got more votes) will be horrified by the image of their country being shown to the rest of the world. Those of us actually in the rest of the world should be even more worried. America and Britain have both made plenty of foreign policy mistakes. But America has mainly been a force for good, standing for democratic freedoms against tyranny in Europe and elsewhere. An American retreat into an isolationist, selfish country would be a disaster for the world. America using its power to be a global trade bully is a frightening prospect.

I am embarrassed that Theresa May was so eager to dash across the Atlantic to pay homage to Trump. It’s even worse that she immediately gave him the highest diplomatic honour of an invitation for a full state visit. I’m glad that over a million people have signed the petition to stop this visit.

Trump’s behaviour is a warning to the world that we could be plunged into a new era of global insecurity. Britain should think again before walking away from the deep trade and cultural links that have secured peace and prosperity with our fellow members of the European Union.

The American President is often referred to as the Leader of the Free World. Trump doesn’t deserve that accolade and maybe he doesn’t want it. It will be up to Europe, Canada and other freedom loving states to take up the mantle. I want Britain to be part of that liberal world order, standing up for freedom, tolerance and trade that brings peace and prosperity.

The petition against Trump’s state visit can be signed here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928

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