Is it re­ally Trump ver­sus the lib­eral world or­der?

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

Is Trump, as you write, the “leader of a very great na­tion” (Don­ald Trump says the UK likes him a lot. We don’t. He is an un­wel­come vis­i­tor, 13 July)? That needs con­sid­er­a­tion. The his­to­rian Tony Judt, in his last book, Ill Fares the Land, con­cluded with: “And then came the ’90s: the first of two lost decades dur­ing which fan­tasies of pros­per­ity and lim­it­less per­sonal ad­vance­ment dis­placed all talk of po­lit­i­cal lib­er­a­tion, so­cial jus­tice or col­lec­tive ac­tion … Un­der Clin­ton and Blair, the At­lantic world stag­nated smugly.” And of course the “dan­ger­ous mis­chief in the do­mes­tic and re­gional pol­i­tics of count­less parts of the world” your editorial at­tributes to Trump long pre­cedes him.

So how great is Amer­ica? And why have we been so se­duced by its cul­ture, so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic? Could it be some­thing to do with where the money is, and isn’t? To quote Judt again: “In­equal­ity is cor­ro­sive. It rots so­ci­eties from within.” The now un­likely trade deal with Amer­ica was ar­guably the only se­ri­ous ob­jec­tive of the Brex­i­teers – its pur­pose to clinch the prof­itable, for some, un­reg­u­lated cor­po­rate con­trol of what used to be our democ­racy. Trump is un­wel­come, but Trump is sim­ply the epit­ome of a root­less, lost so­ci­ety which we do still seem to like a lot.

John Airs

Liver­pool

Your editorial (To do busi­ness, Mr Trump, you need a rules-based or­der that can be po­liced, 11 July) claims that the Nato al­liance “has … ush­ered in a demo­cratic, lib­eral world or­der char­ac­terised by open trade and open so­ci­eties”. Even if we leave aside the ag­gres­sive stance of Nato to­wards the Soviet Union and sub­se­quently Rus­sia, this hardly squares with the re­pres­sive do­mes­tic ac­tions of na­tional mil­i­taries within Nato.

In Greece in 1967 the mil­i­tary seized power from the demo­cratic govern­ment and in­sti­tuted a sev­enyear dic­ta­tor­ship. In Turkey the army over­threw the elected govern­ment in 1960 and in 1980; in the lat­ter case tens of thou­sands of trade union­ists and leftists were im­pris­oned, tor­tured or mur­dered. The Turk­ish army has for 70 years car­ried out geno­ci­dal re­pres­sion of Turk­ish Kurds, and more re­cently of Syr­ian Kurds. Demo­cratic and lib­eral?

Jamie Gough

Sh­effield

How ironic that that Trump should de­mand that Europe con­trib­ute more to its own de­fence (Trump is right. Nato is a costly white ele­phant, 13 July). In 1763 Bri­tain was vic­to­ri­ous but bank­rupt af­ter win­ning the seven years’ war and levied taxes on its 13 Amer­i­can colonies as a con­tri­bu­tion to their own costly de­fence. Now the US is de­mand­ing that Nato mem­bers dou­ble their con­tri­bu­tion to US-pro­vided de­fence. Given the “no tax­a­tion with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion” prin­ci­ple, shouldn’t Nato mem­bers in­sist they will pay only if given elected seats in the US Congress?

Dr Bill Jones

Bev­er­ley, East Rid­ing of York­shire

I has to smile at the front cover of Fri­day’s pa­per (Trump tells May: soft Brexit will ‘kill’ UK hopes of US trade pact, 13 July). Theresa May’s rather plead­ing ex­pres­sion put me in mind of Yosser Hughes from that iconic 80s TV se­ries Boys from the Black­stuff: “Gizza deal, we can do that.”

Ju­dith Daniels

Great Yar­mouth, Nor­folk

I sug­gest our prime min­is­ter should adopt the ap­proach taken to for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in sov­er­eign busi­ness by Trump’s il­lus­tri­ous pre­de­ces­sor, Lyn­don John­son, when in 1965 the then prime min­is­ter of Canada,

Lester Pear­son, at a meet­ing in Bos­ton, Mas­sachusetts, spoke against the US in­ter­ven­tion in Viet­nam then ratch­et­ing up dis­as­trously. Pres­i­dent John­son is­sued Pear­son with a cor­dial in­vi­ta­tion to meet him at Camp David. On ar­rival LBJ grabbed the Cana­dian PM by the lapels and warned him: “Don’t you come down here pissin on ma rug.”

Neil Hen­der­son

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

On an of­fi­cial visit to Canada in 1967, Pres­i­dent de Gaulle made a pub­lic speech that was seen (and in­tended) as a bla­tant in­ter­fer­ence in Cana­dian do­mes­tic pol­i­tics. Prime min­is­ter Lester Pear­son firmly re­buked him, and de Gaulle’s visit ended abruptly. A govern­ment less

John Airs

craven than Theresa May’s would have sent Trump pack­ing.

An­thony Carew

Marple Bridge, Greater Manch­ester

The hymns cho­sen for the med­ley wel­com­ing Trump to Blen­heim have lyrics that are highly rel­e­vant to im­prov­ing his be­hav­iour: “Dear Lord and Fa­ther of mankind, / For­give our fool­ish ways! / Re­clothe us in our right­ful mind / In purer lives Thy ser­vice find.” And then sev­eral verses of prayer for calm and gen­tle­ness; and Amaz­ing Grace was writ­ten by a re­pen­tant racist.

Maybe a mes­sage here?

Sara Mead­ows

Bris­tol

Don­ald Trump say­ing that Boris John­son would make a great prime min­is­ter is the kiss of death for John­son’s hopes. Re­mem­ber what hap­pened af­ter Barack Obama tried to in­flu­ence the Bri­tish to vote to stay in the EU by say­ing that we would have to get to the back of the queue when do­ing deals with the US? The ma­jor­ity voted for Brexit.

Frances Coombes

Lon­don

You note that when Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wilson came here in 1918 he gave an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view to the Guardian (Editorial, 13 July). 100 years, on Pres­i­dent Trump has done the same, but in the Sun. Progress in his­tory is a com­pli­cated mat­ter.

Keith Flett

Lon­don

John Crace’s sketch should have come with a health warn­ing (I’m the busiest, funniest pres­i­dent in the world…, 13 July). I laughed so much I hon­estly thought it was go­ing to run down both legs at one point.

Ian Gar­ner

Keigh­ley, West York­shire

Trump is un­wel­come, but Trump is sim­ply the epit­ome of a root­less, lost so­ci­ety which we do still seem to like a lot

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