While the President of the United States sips on Diet Coke and enjoys as many scoops of ice cream as he likes, his guests are only allowed water and one scoop each.
This is a penetrating insight into the current leader of the free world and tells us a lot about him. One psychologist concluded for The Atlantic that they can ‘discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost’ in Mr. Trump.
This may be true, but can the same not also be said of Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron and Jeremy Corbyn? They may not display the same childish tendencies as him, but they certainly crave as much attention as he does. They only differ in that they seek the approval of different demographics, and so whereas Trump elicits outrage on a continental scale, they inspire fandom.
Of course Trump wants attention, he wants controversy and he wants to feel superior. A regal State Visit with all the pomp and ceremony of the British Establishment will give him exactly that. But by signing a petition calling for this to be stopped, or taking to the streets to vent your anger at this, you are only inflating Trump’s ego further.
You are also putting Britain’s future at risk. Britain does not exactly have much political capital at the moment. We should be thankful that the President of the United States is so eager to do a “very powerful” trade deal with us. Don’t forget that there are those in the European Union who will make Brexit as difficult as possible, and there are those who would have us at “the back of the queue”.
So, even if you don’t like King Donald – and I don’t disparage you if you do – the essential tenet of foreign policy is that you must deal with your enemies as much your friends. This is why the British government sells weapons to Saudi Arabia, brokered the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland and attends summits with Vladimir Putin. We have little in common with radical Islam, Irish republicanism or Russian nationalism – but we still talk to those who do.
If we only dealt with our friends then there wouldn’t be much foreign policy left to do. People who favour unilateral disarmament and who unilaterally oppose Donald Trump don’t seem to understand this. We don’t live in a Manichean world of muggles and wizards, good and evil, right and wrong.
Trump isn’t Lord Voldemort. So button up and do the British thing: be polite. You never know, King Donald may just turn out to be a loyal ally.