America In The Eyes Of The World – A Guest Post by Gary Metcalfe

Today I am happy to present the second guest post in response to my plea for friends outside the U.S. to give us their insight about how they view the U.S. today.  This one is by Gary Metcalfe, who blogs as bereavedandbeingasingleparent, or as I call him, Bereaved Dad.  Thank you, Gary, for taking the time and effort to write this illuminating piece!


IS YORKSHIRE CLOSER TO WASHINGTON OR PARIS

Geography doesn’t really come easily to a simple Yorkshire chap like myself. I’m lucky to find my way round the house never mind circumnavigate the globe.  But distance wise I am pretty sure we are closer to France than America. It has always puzzled me if I should call America – America or is it the USA? Let’s go for America. So, although we are physically closer to France, in terms of relationships are we closer to Washington or Paris?

This is such a difficult question given the fact that my own country has clearly gone barking mad. So badly divided over Brexit. Increasingly violent and seeing the worrying rise of extremism. Less tolerant. Without any effective leadership. Obsessed with the cult of personality over substance. A country with ever widening inequalities. Happy to criticise others yet reluctant to cooperate or make any meaningful international contribution.  Occasionally sending a few war planes into the Middle East does not really count as a constructive policy.

To be fair if Washington and Paris had any sense they would distance themselves from the UK. I suspect the leaders in Europe secretly can’t wait to get rid of us. When I worked for the NHS I went to a conference and the Secretary of State for Health started slagging off our European partners. He held up a European Competition Framework and complained that it was 300 pages long and was a clear sign of European bureaucracy gone mad. Unfortunately, he failed to mention that the vast majority of the bureaucracy in that document had been inserted at the request of the U.K. to protect our own interests. That document will be much slimmer when we have left.

Although we talk as if we are European we have historically seen our closest ally as America. America is often portrayed as vibrant, modern, yes a bit brash but also so very inclusive. Yes, we have seen things which make us shake our heads. The obsession with guns … what is all that about. Wouldn’t an obsession with something like Tea or Old Car Restoration be an awful lot safer for your kids. But still we could trust America. Then Obama came along and suddenly our closest ally became a real beacon of hope.

In 2011 the American President said a few simple words that resonated (he had a brilliant talent for that):

“We should do everything we can to ensure this country lives up to our children’s expectations”

 The words came at such a tragic time for the American People, but Obama was the leader we all wished we had. Intelligent, caring, passionate and someone who understood he had obligations to the upcoming generations. That’s a great look for country and certainly a friend we can work with.  Then the hope appeared to fade, stagnated by a divided country. Principles had to be compromised.  But still America was a trusted partner. Someone we could turn to when we fell out with Europe.

 Then we all got trumped.

 When Trump received his nomination it never really sunk in. We knew of him. A billionaire, a golfer, luxury hotel owner, someone who appeared in Home Alone 2 and the winner of the WWE Battle of the Billionaires with Vince McMahon – didn’t get his head shaved. That was it.

We didn’t focus on him too much as obviously Hillary would win, as obviously the UK would vote to stay in Europe. Then even after he won he wasn’t taken that seriously. He won’t last long, people started placing bets on how long he would be President. Most people seemed to think anywhere between 6 months to 1 week. But he stayed.

For the first period of his presidency it appeared from the U.K. that if you just ignored his frequent twitter rants then things would be ok. He hadn’t blown anything up. Apart from the noise nothing seemed to be happening. Yes, the revolving door approach to presidential appointments seemed vaguely amusing. Moving the White House engine room to a golf course (as clearly a golf course is where a President can do his best work) was not really a surprise. In fact, all we really heard was how much time he spent playing golf.  But slowly the news of the what trumping really meant started to filter across the pond.

  • Apparently dangerous links with Russia and certain Middle East tyrannies existed. But we couldn’t lecture on this as we have equally close links with Saudi Arabia.

  • The Paul Manafort saga (too confusing to really follow as we only heard about snippets of the story) but it clearly implied incompetence or something more sinister. Whatever the underlying cause it’s not a great example to the world of American Ethics.

  • The handling of the Puerto Rico natural disaster was just really insensitive, self-centred and despicable.

  • The apparent haste to fall out with your historic partners like Canada, France and Germany. But you have found a new buddy in North Korea.

  • He bizarrely started to openly condemn his own Intelligence Agencies and the FBI. Yet he didn’t seem as willing to condemn the Extreme Right operating in his own country.

  • The Complete disregard for international climate change commitments. It really felt like he was saying ‘stuff you’ to the world and future generations. Maybe he thinks it’s not my problem as I will be gone by the time the world burns. Contrast that with Obama’s approach. Monumentally stupid or colossally selfish.

  • Favouring the interest of the NRA over child safety. Seriously arming teachers….

  • Attacks on the Free Press and attempts to stifle debate. These are particularly worrying as some of our politicians are clearly starting to copy Trumps strategy. What happened to the Leader of the Free World role.

  • That Wall. That Magic Wall which will solve all of America’s problems. The Wall which is so precious that it’s worth freezing Government for. That must be some Wall. But the sight of a modern Leader seemingly taking personal delight at the shutdown. Probably thinks it makes him look like a big man. We are talking about people’s lives here being sacrificed for a few bricks.  Kids are dying on the border. Oh, I forgot they are just migrants. Are the golf courses still open?

To the vast majority in our country your President appears to be at best a misguided clown at worst a dangerously unbalanced self-obsessed bully. Either are not a good look for a leader and certainly not as a leader who we are trying to forge a partnership with. Many in our country feel that Trump has gone too far. That we should be distancing ourselves from him. But our PM is desperate, she sees an American trade deal (regardless of how bad it is) as a way of saving her job. So, unless we get a new government it’s going to happen.

Where does that leave us across the pond. Rapidly burning our bridges with Europe. Yet looking on at America with increasing consternation and alarm. At a time when we should be embracing closer links with Washington we see a dangerous superpower. Potentially a threat. Yes, a threat. And yet. And yet. As our country careens out of control into a world with few friends, our government views Trump as someone we might be able to quickly do business with. He clearly hates Europe as much as our Brexiteers. But at what cost. Is an unbalanced trade deal really worth further opening up our beloved National Health Service to Trump’s golfing buddies. Are we really that tainted as a country that we are prepared to sacrifice our moral principles for the price of a document which Trump could declare void at any stage.

So back to the big question. Are we closer to Washington or Paris? The answer is sadly neither.Text dividers

28 thoughts on “America In The Eyes Of The World – A Guest Post by Gary Metcalfe

  1. Gary Metcalfe has given us an eloquently written outsider’s point of view as it relates to himself, to us and to the world. Anything that I could add to the comments has already been proffered and quite well indeed. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a great commentary. It sums up the confusion, bigoted hatred, and pomposity that is emanating from Donald Trump’s political policies.
    That Britain may have to rely on a relationship with America Post Brexit, is a very unsavoury prospect at the moment. Can someone please reinstate Barack Obama? He is the only recent President that I have seen with a moral character worthy of POTUS. And then can someone give Barrack a team of first class, non-racist expert advisers to negotiate Americas return to the land of Hope and Glory.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Gary Metcalfe,

    Thank you for sharing this impressive post with us.

    Your post reflects a sound grasp of what’s been transpiring in the USA. The UK has gone down the perilous Brexit rabbit hole that may end up going nowhere and the Parisian Yellow vests are sending a clear message that average working folks have had it, with being squeezed financially. It’s a message that the world leaders should have listened to at a much earlier time.

    The good news in the USA, is that the Democratic Party members along with conservatives who are totally opposed to President Trump’s reign have managed to insure that its members took over the majority of seats in the US House (the lower house) starting in January 2019. The Democrats are planning to become the majority party in the US Senate (Upper House) in Nov. 2020 when the US Senate map favors them. This is defined as having several vulnerable republican senators who will be running for reelection in 2020 in states which have been leaning’/favoring Democratic candidates.

    We don’t expect President Trump to have survived to run for the presidency again in 2020, but if he does, he’ll be facing tough competition. So far, there have been numerous battles with some wins, some losses and lots of wounds but we will win this war. Some of us will need to be treated for PTSD.

    The Democrats plan is to cater to the working Joes in every way possible, The good news is that President Trump’s reign has helped us to focus our priorities on strengthening the middle class and the poor. Living life without hope is no way to live.

    In short for the US, there is hope. I pray that this will be the same for our friends across the pond.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent assessment and summation from Gary and Gronda, I wholeheartedly agree! The only issue is that that we’re all preaching to the choir, reinforcing our set beliefs. It would be interesting to entertain the opinion from a conservative, or moderate voice. Obviously debating a hardcore Trumper would be a complete waste of time, someone with a different perspective, perhaps from Asia, Africa, South America or the Middle East, Israel would be refreshing. Cheers everyone!

      Liked by 2 people

      • You hit the nail on the head … we are all preaching to the choir, or as our friend Hugh says, ‘spitting in the wind’, for the vast majority of our readers already agree with us. Now, the question is, how do we reach over to … “the other side”?

        Like

  4. A great summary, which reflects many of the perceptions I hear being echoed in New Zealand. I too would like to post Garry’s perceptions on my site because I suspect my readership might be different.
    Two issues which particularly concern me are that Mr Trump seems to be either unwilling – or perhaps unable – to listen to advice which involves understanding detail. For months at a time he repeats “facts” which are long since contradicted by readily available data. This is evidenced in a total lack of empathy with anyone (eg virtually all Democrats) who doesn’t instantly support his current and/or changing position on just about everything. He even chooses to ignore all polls that show declining support (ie most of them) and apparently thinks that his claimed facts should be equated with his opinion.
    He certainly makes a mockery of the Christian principles (eg tolerance, forgiveness, setting aside the pursuit of riches) he claims to represent and because he doesn’t read, has no concept of the causal factors behind environmental concerns, arms treaties, disparities in wealth, economics, social justice etc

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you! Please feel free to share this post with your readers … I would be interested in hearing the POV from the people of your country! You are quite right … facts are unimportant to Trump … as are, obviously, people. It is my hope that he can be removed from office before he does horribly irreparable damage, which I believe he is very capable of. Thanks again for your support!

      Like

    • I just had a thought … would you be interested in writing a guest post for me about how you and your fellow New Zealanders view our country these days? I would welcome it, for as far as I know, you are the only New Zealand reader I have. But no pressure … if you’re not interested, I certainly understand!

      Like

    • Thank you for potentially reposting my words. Sorry again this is my WP name. I remember listening to a PR expert saying that the Trump approach has two aims. If you keep repeating unproven facts , in some eyes they eventually become truths. And also even if people don’t believe the unproven stuff it muddies the water, confuses the debate and hides the important stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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