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Trump is no diplomat – he plays to win


Trump has them spinning like tops. In an interview with the Sun, he dropped a few truths on the situation in Britain. From his view of May’s Brexit negotiations to what he thinks of Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson, Trump let rip.

‘This is not the Brexit that the people of Britain voted for’. Boris Johnson would make a ‘great prime minister’. Sadiq Khan ‘has done a terrible job’.

Cue outrage from establishment stout parties. Trump bombed the establishment and elite heads exploded. On the BBC Jon Sopel did what many thought impossible and looked even more distressed than usual.

Then less than a day later Trump appears to have drawn back from his statements and sighs of relief are heard all around. The suggestion is that Trump has been spoken to by wiser heads in the American administration and advised to be more diplomatic and calm down.

The establishment value order and the smooth running of relationships within their bubble. For this to continue, diplomacy is vital: the smoothing over of differences, the emollient word, the compromise made. Trump is not diplomatic and has no intention of playing their game. Why should he? He wins when he plays his own game.

What the political and media establishment don’t seem to grasp is that Trump is playing them like an angler with a trout on the line. This is Trump’s classic mode of operation. He customarily operates on a Trumpian Three Step pattern: disruption, equilibrium and resolution.

Step One – Disruption. He disturbs the equilibrium the establishment holds dear by saying or tweeting something they think outrageous, and the rest of us know is true.

Trump points out that not all the illegal immigrants crossing the American border are physicists and brain surgeons, or peons willing to mow lawns for peanuts. Trump says Mexico is exporting drug dealers, child traffickers and rapists, and suggests that MS-13 gangsters are animals. American liberals are outraged, thus making themselves look foolish in the eyes of ordinary Americans who, unlike Nancy Pelosi, have little time for MS-13.

Trump says that most of the European countries involved in NATO are riding on America’s coattails. Europe’s high welfare spending is financed by American spending on defence to protect countries who won’t pay their agreed share for their own defence. European elites are outraged. They are happy to promise to stump up 2 per cent of GDP for defence, though they don’t want to have to do so.

Trump says that Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit and that May is a dreadful negotiator who has ignored his advice. He says London Mayor Sadiq Khan is doing a very bad job. British elites are outraged. They know they are doing their best to ensure that Britain remains shackled to the EU as much as possible, but they need to keep up the threadbare illusion that they are acting in Britain’s best interests and trying to secure a good Brexit.

During the now famous interview with the Sun, Trump blamed Sadiq Khan personally for failing to stand up to terrorists. He said: ‘I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I look at cities in Europe, and I can be specific if you’d like. You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job. Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.’

Immediately afterwards Emily Thornberry, the shadow Foreign Secretary whom some people still take seriously, responded by calling Trump a racist Islamophobe. Of course she did. No attempt at engaging with and refuting Trump’s statements, just a knee-jerk response demonstrating how little the difference is between the chanting protesters in the streets and some of those with high positions on the Left.

Outrage is the perpetual response of the progressive to unpalatable truth.

Step Two – Equilibrium. The equilibrium is re-established. Trump acts as though everything is as it should be, as though he is a member of a big happy family.

After ripping apart Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, he appears at a press conference alongside her praising her to the skies. The establishment breathes a sigh of relief. They can get back to playing their own game now that the wild man from the West has been brought to heel. They busy themselves with mending fences, smoothing things over and getting everything back to normal.

Step Three – Resolution. Normalcy has been established but not restored. We now have a new normal, one which has been recalibrated to play in Trump’s favour, and ours. The truth bomb, once dropped, can’t be taken back.

We know who the illegal immigrants breaking through America’s border are. We know what type of people the progressive establishment are trying to enable. This is now part of the general discourse around immigration in America.

We know just how most NATO governments have been sponging off the USA for their defence. When these governments mouth their platitudes and make their promises no one trusts them to keep their commitments. This is now part of the general discourse around defence in Europe.

We know just how badly the Brexit negotiations have been handled, perhaps deliberately. We know how the culture of Europe is being undermined. We know just how badly the capital city of Great Britain is being run. This is now part of the general discourse around Brexit, European immigration and the condition London under Khan.

Trump is no diplomat. He prefers to win.

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Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack
Campbell is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Stirlingshire. He blogs at A Grain of Sand.

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