Trump’s Twitter tactics test special relationship
President-elect’s continued breaking of diplomatic rules has London recalculating its desired proximity to Washington
On Monday, 21 November, da trumpeter/tweeterer tweeted the following: “Many people would like to see @Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!” So much wrong in so few words, that it makes us realize a World War could conceivably be started on nothing more than a 160-character Twitter post!
First off, the president of the U.S. gets to choose, with confirmation by the Senate, the U.S. ambassadors to other countries, but does not get to choose the ambassadors that other countries send to the U.S.! Second, I do not know who the “many people” are that would like to see Farage sent here as ambassador, but I am definitely NOT one of them! We have enough bloomin’ idiots of our own … we do not need to borrow from the UK!!! Third, of course, is that Twitter is not an acceptable venue for this type of communique, but that never seems to stop da tweeterer.
It is highly unlikely that Trump and the “many people” will get their wish, as the current UK ambassador to Washington is Sir Kim Darroch, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson praises the job Darroch has been doing, saying he will remain in the position for several more years. In the UK, it is typical for diplomats rather than politicians to be selected as ambassadors, and Farage is a politician. Of course, Farage was thrilled with Trump’s tweet and responded with a tweet of his own, saying “The world has changed. It’s time that Downing Street did too.”
Nigel Farage is head of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) and, much like Trump himself, is regarded by about half the population of the UK as a saviour and the other half as an idiot extraordinaire. Trump’s moment of glory was the 2016 presidential election, Farage’s was Brexit. They are both buffoonish, clownish in their own ways.
A July Bloomberg article defines Farage as:
“Chain-smoking and beer-swilling, Farage, 49, poses as that most British version of masculinity, a bloke: the sort who says what he thinks, thinks what he says, and doesn’t give two hoots for niceties.”
Yes, I imagine he and da trumpeter would get along just fine, but I cannot see that it would benefit either the UK or the US in the long run, to have two representatives with no filters on their speech, no sense of diplomacy or political savvy, and no sense of working toward greater good.
According to The Guardian, “It is unprecedented for a president to state his preference in public, and to choose someone such as Farage who is determined to break up the entire EU, and has dedicated his professional life to weakening Theresa May’s Conservative party.” The Civil Service Commission states that appointments must be “made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition” to be “lawful”. It adds: “Merit means the appointment of the best available person judged against the essential criteria for the role. No-one should be appointed to a job unless they are competent to do it and the job must be offered to the person who would do it best.” In the words of former UK ambassador to the U.S., Sir Christopher Meyer, “you often have to play hardball. A political appointee can work but what can’t happen is allowing a foreign government to dictate who should be your ambassador. That’s unacceptable.” And foreign affairs specialist Crispin Blunt described Trump’s behaviour as extraordinary, saying the episode showed “in transition Trump has not got professional advisers around him who realise how gratuitously insulting it is to try to select the UK ambassador to the United States”.
Call it ‘protocol’, call it ‘diplomacy’, call it ‘political correctness’, call it ‘common courtesy’, or call it just plain old-fashioned ‘manners’ … whatever you call it, it is essential for people to get along in this world! If I need to borrow an egg from my neighbor, I do not simply walk into her home, go to the refrigerator and take an egg! No, instead I knock gently on the door, ask if I may borrow an egg, and wait for her to get the egg for me! Those who applaud Trump’s ‘style’ of brashness and buffoonery will soon find that it has no place in the world of international relations! We must hope that Trump learns this sooner rather than later, but with the radical and foolish advisors he is selecting, I fear there will be nobody to advise him on what is acceptable, and left to his own devices, he is likely to continue on the path toward making the United States the laughingstock of the world!