Americas, Analysis, Side Feature

Trump is Losing Friends

A Guardian Newspaper headline reported: “Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears” while CNN reported the same day, 12th of January 2018, that a “US ambassador resigns, saying he can no longer work with Trump”.


Just days after US president Trump complained about immigrants coming to the US from ‘sh**hole countries’ in Latin America, news of John Feeley’s resignation as US ambassador to Panama was announced, and he is not the only diplomat to express disappointment with Trump. Paul Altidor, Haiti’s US envoy, said he was “surprised and disappointed”, while presidents and foreign ministers from around the world expressed their sense of insult at Trump’s racist attitude to their countries.

After Trump’s visit to London was cancelled, the responses were of a different tone. A headline from CNN was, “London mayor Sadiq Khan says Trump ‘got the message’ over UK visit”, while the Washington Post headline was, “Glee in London over Trump’s scrapped visit – but also unease about US British ties”. The cancellation of Trump’s visit to the UK will satisfy the 1,863,708 people who signed a petition asking for a state visit to be cancelled because, “Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen”, which forced a parliamentary debate last year in the House of Commons.

The remarkable thing about Trump’s administration is not the insults to enemies of the US, but the careless abandon with which the president offends leaders and personalities of friendly nations. Trump last year caused a row with the UK prime minister, Theresa May, when he shared racist videos that could have incited violence following terrorist attacks in the UK, and he earlier leaked information shared by UK security services in confidence that caused offence. Trump lashed out at the UK mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in London, and other US mayors came out in support of the UK mayor. New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, defended Sadiq Khan, “I don’t understand why Donald Trump is trying to undermine a man who’s trying to protect the people of London. It makes no sense”. With equal senselessness Trump has disparaged other European leaders and the NATO alliance and the international institutions that the US has spent decades building up to defend its values.

Trump even undermines his own country directly. He has sought to discredit the US press as largely purveyors of ‘fake news’ who cannot be trusted, and he has ridiculed his own security services and indicated that he has more confidence in Russian president Putin than the FBI and CIA. His latest comments about ‘sh**hole’ countries will only further alienate the US at a time when the world is becoming increasingly multipolar, and that can only help bring the US closer to the day when she looks for allies to support her cause and finds none.


Dr. Abdullah Robin