I had an interesting discussion the other day with a friend who I’ve had since our Royal Navy days who is now a USA citizen having married a fantastic woman and decided that he wanted not only to commit to her but also the country of her birth.
The discussion centred around what was a very genuine and kind offer for us to go and stay with them in the United States which I’m afraid to say I turned down on the grounds that I have no interest in visiting a Trump America.
Now I know that the majority of those who voted in the Presidential Election didn’t vote for Donald Trump and to that extent I fully understand the argument that the people of the United States didn’t elect him to be president.
However – call it political chicanery and deceit if you like – but the reality for the USA and the World is that the “democratic system” did – if only on a minority of votes cast – install him and his family in the White House.
As such he does represent the people of the United States of America on the world stage and is the face of the American people which for all of the millions of good, honest and decent Americans is one of cruelty, deception, racism, sexism, misogyny and downright stupidity based on ignorance.
When I served in the Royal Navy I had the pleasure of visiting the US on a number of occasions and to put it simply had a great time both on the East and West Coast where the people were friendly inviting and above all clearly more than happy to welcome us to their country.
So what has happened?
How has a nation as wealthy and powerful as the United States effectively managed in the space of 150 years to progress from the pioneer wagon train era to the technological wonders of space travel and yet elect a man with a “Stone Age mind” into the White House.
As an outside observer – and yes I do sit up all night watching the US Presidential results as they come in – I can’t help but think the past year or so has revealed what many already believed which is that the democratic processes and freedoms that the US boast about is no more than an illusion.
Now I fully understand and recognise why in economically difficult times there is a backlash against the establishment.
It usually takes the form of complaints that there are simply too many people with the inevitable result that the “indigenous” – if there is such a thing -population (in the USA according to the President it means you have to be white and at least first generation white) rise up against those who are different.
Overpopulation and the need to expand territory to satisfy what are seen as the economic and social requirements of populations has resulted in two Global Conflicts in the 20th Century alone.
In fact if you consider the British Empire at the time then I would argue that the Napoleonic Wars were also a Global Conflict – but that’s another argument for another time.
Of course wars outside of nations borders are fought by armed forces who wear distinctive uniforms which makes identifying the enemy relatively easy.
For the United States they have always been fought on foreign soil which is why the current difficulties are so difficult to read.
For make no mistake the United States – at least from my perspective – has started a “war” on several fronts and one in which the enemy as seen by the President and his supporters don’t have a uniform that makes them easily distinguishable.
The first is on his own people through changes to health care provision, changes to taxation, changes to education policy, his anti-immigration policies and perhaps as important if not more so where they exist at all his chaotic foreign policies.
Across the world his “America First” trade policies will only weaken the United States because there will inevitably be consequences as nations enter into even greater trade deals with other nations to the exclusion of the USA.
Put simply in trade terms is there anything that the United States produces that couldn’t be produced elsewhere in the world?
Clearly the Trump family think that China produces better clothes on both price and quality than could be sourced within the States because that’s when they import the goods they retail from.
The sad thing is I know that the American people are better than what we see in their President, his family and their supporters.
But having said that I’m not sure the USA under the current regime – and regime is what it is – is really somewhere I would feel comfortable in taking my family.
Or at least not whilst the current incumbent in the White House is in residence.