A US president with no moral authority flies in to meet a British prime minister with no authority whatsoever. Each seeking legitimacy in the presence of the other, they hail their special relationship like two bald men might brandish a comb. Isolated in their trajectories, belligerent in their rhetoric, incoherent in their policies, they have alienated their allies in pursuit of a brazen nationalism that bodes ill for them and everybody else.
Donald Trump’s diplomatic needs are significant. He left America having escalated a trade war with China and stopped off at Nato in Brussels where he insulted everybody, openly questioning the purpose of the bloc of which the US is ostensibly the cornerstone.
America needs a friend. The soft power on which the nation once thrived – the broad cultural appeal of its actors, musicians and authors that drew in even those who abhorred its foreign policy – is steadily being extinguished by Trump’s heinous political leadership. He may not know how to make friends, keep them or treat them, but he needs them all the same. [Continue reading…]