Trump should be wel­comed

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business -

Don­ald Trump is go­ing to Davos, but he’s not com­ing to Lon­don, os­ten­si­bly be­cause he doesn’t like the new US em­bassy at Nine Elms. He’s right about it be­ing a bad deal. The former site at Grosvenor Square is the primest of prime Lon­don prop­erty; Nine Elms is just Nine Elms. We all know the real rea­son, how­ever. Mr Trump feels in some way slighted by the UK, and he doesn’t want to sub­ject him­self to the in­evitable protests his pres­ence would pro­voke. There is no such worry in Davos, where the gath­ered global elite is about as in­su­lated from the protest­ing mob as it is pos­si­ble to be without ac­tu­ally blast­ing off to another planet. The se­cu­rity is vir­tu­ally im­preg­nable.

All the same, there is a cer­tain irony in the jux­ta­po­si­tion. To the ex­tent that WEF demon­stra­tors ever get up the moun­tain at all, it is to shout about the sins of glob­al­i­sa­tion, a phe­nom­e­non Davos has al­ways both sym­bol­ised and cham­pi­oned. The pro­test­ers have been com­pletely dis­com­bob­u­lated by Trump, who in­con­ve­niently shares their mistrust of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism. Yet they can­not side with the dem­a­gogue, so now they em­brace the things they used to hate, if only be­cause Trump is against them.

That the WEF’S Klaus Sch­wab has per­suaded the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to at­tend is a ma­jor coup, not just be­cause it gives the event a fas­ci­na­tion it wouldn’t other­wise en­joy, but also be­cause it’s about build­ing bridges, di­a­logue and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing. The way to deal with Trump is not to re­pu­di­ate him, but to flat­ter and stroke him, as the French and Chi­nese have un­der­stood in al­ready lav­ishly host­ing him in their coun­tries.

It is ut­terly lu­di­crous that the UK, with its claimed “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” and its pur­suit of al­ter­na­tive trade deals for a post Brexit world, should, out of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, be in ef­fect snub­bing him. Whether we like his Amer­ica First poli­cies or not, co­op­er­a­tion and pur­suit of the na­tional in­ter­est must take pri­or­ity. As for Sadiq Khan, he should hang his head in shame for sid­ing with the twit­terati in wel­com­ing Trump’s can­cel­la­tion. Any Lon­don mayor wor­thy of the name would be rolling out the red car­pet. Davos has got it right; Bri­tain, I fear, has not.

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