Colombo Telegraph

‘Balloon’ Protest in London – Signifies Growing Global Anger Against The US Under Trump!

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

From the dawn of history the oppressor has always insisted that oppression was good for the oppressed’-  Moorfield Storey

The huge ‘Baby Trump protest’ balloon, scheduled to float above  the capital city of London during the proposed Trump’s visit this week may be considered by some as childish. However, in the eyes of most, it is absolutely brilliant; ‘Trump Baby’ is deemed to be a moment of weaponised humour in a broad, colourful and beautiful protest movement. A balloon – or rather a giant, orange inflatable the size of a two storey house thus  becomes their weapon of choice against this demagogue American President. In the face of this growing angry mood in London against Trump, his UK itinerary appears to be planned out carefully to avoid the capital and all of this ‘Baby Trump’ and the London protests/ demonstrations as much as possible. Of course, overlooking this stark reality prevailing among the masses to exercise their right of protest by such peaceful means against Trump’s visit, sadly there are also Islamophobia sections of the  British Media ,which shamelessly tries to focus on the Muslim Mayor of London blaming him for taking the decision to allow this balloon on the London skies(which is not true). Max Wakefield, in an article (inews.co.uk 08/07/2018), discusses the underlying rationale for flying the balloon. 

‘..With his malevolent face of undisguised rage, enormous yellow quiff, securely fastened nappy – and really tiny hands – Trump Baby symbolises the essential facts about The Donald. A man of willful and breathtaking ignorance, he wanders in the self-reflecting hall of mirrors of a terrible infant’s psyche, blinded by his own brilliance. Bereft of morality, but rich in privilege, his crazed and cowardly self-love whimsically whips, taunts and abuses anyone it can lay its (tiny) hands on, concocting lies, hatred and violent group-think to feed the beast…This is the inner life of the most powerful man on earth. Now, when Trump visits the UK he will be greeted with this grotesque, floating and unavoidable vision of himself as viewed from the outside. And he will be pursued out of the country by our echoing laughter…’

The Sunday Mail, a Scottish tabloid, published a headline that read “Send him home to think again,” a play on a Scottish anthem. The editor said ‘Trump was “a threat to international stability, and he has a tenuous relationship with the truth,” adding, “We want to let him know that we don’t appreciate what he stands for”. Further, a “Carnival of Resistance” involving throwing rubber boots at a Trump doll is also being envisaged. Meanwhile, protesters across Britain are organizing themselves to play a cat-and-mouse game with Trump as he embarks on a four-day visit to the country, avoiding the areas of protests. Campaign groups including trade unions, environmental campaigners, organizations representing Latin Americans, Muslims and asylum seekers, and even a group opposing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, have organized a packed schedule reflecting an angry national mood against the psychopath in the White House more than the White House itself. As Prof. Scott Lucas, of  the University of Birmingham quipped in a press interview ‘The man is the focus here. Trump has generated “the greatest amount of unease and tension against a single individual as opposed to an administration.”. Ironically, a petition last year to prevent Trump meeting Queen Elizabeth, on the grounds that an official state visit would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty,” gathered more than a million signatures.

However, the discontent with Trump and his psychopathic antics are not limited to UK alone. It has become a world wide phenomena; certainly a European one. Across much of Europe, anti-Americanism appears to be on the rise. Majorities in most of the European countries polled by Pew during the Bush years believed that the US, was looking out for its own interests and not taking into account the interests of other nations. Back then, America’s poor global standing was linked to fears of unconstrained U.S. power and its disregard for international norms or multilateral cooperation. Recent polls show further plunging ratings for America, and European leaders are once again critical of Washington’s foreign policies. Commentators are issuing dark warnings about the fate of the transatlantic alliance. 

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, has said that Europe can no longer rely on the US and that it must “take destiny into its own hands.” Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials, took him to task in May, when he tweeted “Looking at latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. But frankly, EU should be grateful. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm”, providing an inkling  of how European leaders are trying to come to terms with his arrogance and artificial policy shifts for example on issues like the Iran nuclear deal. The EU leaders were also unable to persuade Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and his decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the United States Embassy there, were made despite European and the wider world opposition. Tusk also appealed to US ahead of the forthcoming NATO summit: ‘Dear America ,appreciate your allies.After all, you do not have that many.’

It is no secret that Trump has an instinctive animus against the European Union and NATO, supporting Brexit vote in UK. He also reportedly told President Macron that France also should consider leaving EU too, and interestingly falsely claimed recently that the EU was created “to take advantage of the US”. While he is looking to improve relations with Russia, there has been thus an alarm at the deteriorating climate with his allies in Europe. Some have expressed fears for the future of NATO itself, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated that Europe may no longer be able to rely on its US ally. Trump also announced that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Group of Seven’s official statement of common values and even accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the host of the G-7 conference, of “false statements”..

Western leaders who till now, tended to decide that the best way to address their concerns with him was to embrace his ways to varying degrees, have realized that the approach has hardly produced results; in fact, on almost all issues the West, particularly Europe, have had an interest about—from climate change to trade to Iran—the Trump administration has differed. However, some signals are now becoming visible that Europe is beginning to look further. It has finalized a free-trade agreement with Canada, and even closer to having one with Japan, while being in negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, and the Mercosur bloc of South American countries. EU is also getting more closer to Russia too, hitherto considered a virtual pariah in European capitals because of its’ adverse policies in Ukraine and Syria, and charges of undermining the electoral systems in several Western nations, and even getting close to China too. They came together recently as a united front on the Iran nuclear deal as well as when US withdrew from the Paris Accord on environment as well. 

However, the reality is that Europe has long become dependent on U.S.-led leadership for more than seven decades, and no Western country is still prepared to fill the void left by the U.S. Thus, the  prevailing view among them is that US is  going through a period of global retrenchment, and they hope that, as Canadian PM Trudeau once remarked, “at some point their common sense will prevail”. Many Europeans, in this context regularly lament about U.S. disengagement rather than an overreach of American power and see an America pulling away from the world order, which they say it once shaped. Precise the reason, President Macron nonetheless encapsulated European critiques of the American leader’s worldview thus, without criticizing Trump directly during his recent address to the U.S. Congress,: “We can choose isolationism, withdrawal, and nationalism. It can be tempting to us as a temporary relief to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world”.

In the world stage too, Trump has been flexing his muscles, in a show of American exceptionalism  in his own brutal style, than how his predecessors did, to prevail upon the other nations; even US allies, to fall in line with US stance in almost  debate in the UN. “American exceptionalism” has long been the ideological underpinning of – and justification for –the American empire and all of its military adventures. The American version of “exceptionalism” has a long history. Abe Lincoln arrogantly claimed that his government was “the last best hope of Earth.” From Reagan to Obama, and even Presidential candidates promoted the idea that ‘God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind,in American hands. Trump obviously went further. Under his ‘America First’ policy, he made his own rules in engagement with other nations. His ‘Make America Great Again’ prospectus is a jumble of instincts, prejudices and impulses. America’s allies, in the process have already concluded that Trump therefore is neither predictable nor reliable. Trump’s dismal track records has proved beyond doubt that he does not possess neither the mind-set nor temperament to lead the West; let alone the so-called free world. In fact, he has been branded as a narcissist by many US psychologists impairing his ability to see reality, making him bend reality to fulfill whatever fantasy about power, wealth, beauty, etc. Hearing him bully and brag, boast and bluster, threaten and lie, one feels a kind of dizziness and an excruciating pain that accompanies dangerously high blood pressure.

Trump and his administration has been wreaking havoc around the world, despite his sham shows like his peace accord with North Korea. Trump’s Deal Is All Show, No Reality in Pyongyang as per experts. US growing global isolation was clearly seen in the near unanimous UN Security vote against US on Jerusalem in the recent past. The worst effect his style of Presidency has had on the global plane and in US/Europe in particular, was his inspiration to the alt right populist racist and Islamophobia movements, which have shown a significant rise since his assumption to office. His uni-lateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital and his adventures in the ME thanks to puppet regimes in the Arab world particularly Saudi, Egypt and UAE have caused a terrible catastrophe in the region, hell- bent on drawing Iran to the point of war along with his Zionist counterpart Bibi. Despite Trump’s effort to isolate Iran in the ME, Iran however is and will remain an increasingly assertive and influential power in the region, defending and promoting its’ interests and competing with the Saudi regime.

Just as news media outlets world over and even comedians struggle to keep pace with the controversies and personalities at Trump’s White House, the people of  US are  yet to wake the reality that they have knowingly or unknowingly ‘gifted’ the world a psychopath who is on a mission to make it worse off by the day, by both his commission and omissions. Perhaps, America will need to learn new rules and play differently while respecting the dignity of other nations , in the new balance-of-power world, where others have assets and policies the U.S. does not and cannot control. In the meantime, the international community should realize that Trump’s impulsive actions are upending the international order that has been in place since the end of World War II and that America has lost its dominant role in world affairs. World leaders and the global community have taken their own silent poll on Trump and found him wanting in about every department. Trump is a global liability — not a global leader. The earlier he is assigned by the US public to the dustbins of history, the better for them and the world at large. Perhaps, the Baby Trump Balloon above London in his diapers should remind him that he needs to grow up. The world today is much different to what his advisor John Bolton paints and what he barks in futility.   

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