Poor old Theresa – seems like she can’t do right for doing wrong. Her latest gaff is not rushing onto social media to make a vitriolic condemnation of Donald Trump’s ill-thought out (well, not really thought-out at all) decision to close the borders of the US to vast swathes of people from a random selection of countries with unpleasant governments on the grounds that their citizens must, by definition, be unpleasant people.Yeah, I know – pot; kettle; black.
Mrs May, like any national leader, has to deal with the world as it is – not as we would like it to be. That means that sometimes you have to talk to some very unpleasant people and people who have done some very unpleasant things – and you don’t have to go outside these islands or very far back in history to find examples of this.
The fact is that Donald Trump is the President of a country with the world’s biggest economy; a country that is one of Britain’s key trading partners and a country that effectively bankrolls the defence of the UK and the rest of Western Europe through NATO.
Regardless of whether you agree with Theresa May’s politics, she is an intelligent, thoughtful woman who doesn’t make policy on the hoof or conduct international diplomacy via Twitter. A quiet word in private is likely to be more effective than a public diatribe. Adults don’t deal with toddlers by throwing tantrums – they deal with them by behaving like adults. In the context of international relations, it’s called “statesmanship.”
The alternative is the nightmare scenario in which the world ends, not with a bang, but with a tweet.