Don­ald Trump says the UK likes him a lot. We don’t. He is an un­wel­come vis­i­tor

The Guardian - Journal - - News -

The first sit­ting pres­i­dent of the United States to visit Bri­tain ar­rived here 100 years ago. Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son came to Bri­tain in 1918 on his way to the Ver­sailles peace con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the first world war. He came with the most no­ble of ob­jec­tives: to help make peace in war-rav­aged Europe and to lead the con­struc­tion of a lib­eral in­ter­na­tional or­der based on laws and rights. Al­though the global or­der he was de­ci­sive in es­tab­lish­ing was re­jected at home and later chal­lenged to within an inch of its life by fas­cism, it sur­vived and was re­built more strongly. We are all the ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

The con­trast be­tween that first pres­i­den­tial visit and the visit of Don­ald Trump a cen­tury later could not be more elo­quent of the chang­ing global role of the United States. Mr Trump does not come with a mes­sage of peace, as Wil­son did, but with mes­sages of con­flict and dis­rup­tion. He ar­rives not as the op­ti­mistic up­holder of an in­ter­na­tional or­der but as its ca­sual po­ten­tial de­stroyer. Where Wil­son spoke dur­ing his visit of his wish to make right and jus­tice the “con­trol­ling force of the world”, Mr Trump ar­rives in 2018 as the venge­ful tri­bune of might and in­jus­tice.

Dur­ing his 1918 stay, Wil­son made a point of trav­el­ling to his mother’s birth­place in Carlisle. He also went to Manch­ester, where he was met by cheer­ing crowds, re­ceived the free­dom of the city, ad­dressed a lunch in the Mid­land Ho­tel, spoke at a public meet­ing in the Free Trade Hall – and even in­vited CP Scott, ed­i­tor and owner of the Manch­ester Guardian, for an hour’s dis­cus­sion, a scoop that caused con­ster­na­tion in the US press. It is a sign of chang­ing times that the White House in 1918 could as­sure Scott that the pres­i­dent “re­lied on the Guardian’s whole­hearted sup­port”.

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