I kept the right ones out
And let the wrong ones in
Had an angel of mercy to see me through all my sins
Everybody understood that PM Theresa May stood in the starting blocks to visit the American president Donald Trump, almost immediately after his inauguration. There was hardly another option than to become even better friends with the United States, if the UK did not want to sink into economic oblivion.
Where the special relationship had traditionally been very important to the eyes of the United Kingdom, it became paramount when the UK decided to go its own way and leave the European Union.
The negotiation process with the EU – as a consequence of the hard Brexit that Theresa May advocated – would be long and painful and May was to expect hardly one inch of leeway during the whole process. And when finished eventually, this would only be the beginning of an even longer and more painful process of negotiating bilateral agreements with a huge number of countries, that earlier had business relations with the EU as a whole.
This whole negotiating process might take a decade and will be a long and winding road, with no guarantees in the end. It could even mean that the UK could end up in a worse position than at the start of the negotiations.
So even though PM May was not yet allowed to sign a deal with the American president – the UK is still a member of the EU at this moment – it would be a darn good feeling for her to leave the US with a letter of intent and a few rockhard promises regarding trade agreements, in the best interests of both countries.
Therefore standing at the stairs of the White House would be a huge ego boost for Theresa May and it might even lend some street credibility to Donald Trump, as he was off for a very shaky start in which he offended almost everybody and their sister, except for his “friend” Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
But May was soon to find out that her glorious pose at the White House, holding hands with President Trump, was a Pyrrhic Victory and would actually lead her away from the United Kingdom’s goal of wanting to be taken serious as an economic powerhouse after the Brexit.
Hardly 24 hours after this glorious event, President Trump by executive order deployed a ban against travellers from seven countries who wanted to enter the USA: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. In vernicular this ban was called the Muslim Ban. And this ban was valid for all travellers coming from these countries and even for people born in one of these countries, irrespective of the fact whether they carried a visa and a greencard or not.
On top of that, this fate also struck people with a double passport, who carried the second one from a country not present on this list. It did not matter: they did not get in the country. Period.
And even though this ban was watered down slightly the next day, when a justice of the Supreme Court stated that people with a valid Green Card and a visa could not be refused access to the United States, the damage had already been done for Trump and May. Especially, when thousands and thousands of alienated and furious American citizens in cities with large airports scurried to the terminals to protest and express their outrage about this Muslim Ban action. An action that damaged thousands of travellers from one of these countries and made them (temporary) prisoners of the terminal on the airport where they landed, while others were not even allowed to enter the plane in their home countries.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this Muslim Ban were the countries NOT on this list of banned countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Especially Saudi-Arabia was undoubtedly the biggest “perpetrator” in sheer numbers of hijackers participating in the events during 9/11 and also the United Arab Emirates has allegedly a far from clean sheet, with respect to sponsoring of and participating in terrorism. Mudslingers stated that these voids on the list were caused by the fact that Trump owned massive commercial real estate participations in those countries and did not want to offend his hosts overthere.
For PM Theresa May the sh*t started to really hit the fan, when British citizens found out that under the new circumstances the British MP Nadhim Zahawi, who was born in Iraqi capital Baghdad, would not be granted access to the United States anymore for the duration of this ban. Her unemotional reaction to this ban – in order not to offend Trump directly after her visit– outraged her countrymen even more.
And soon a new opportunity for British outrage will occur, as PM May did not come empty-handed to her new, political ‘best friend forever’ in the United States.
She carried an invitation for an official state visit of President Trump to the United Kingdom. And reputedly this state visit contained the ‘Full Monty’ in British hospitality, in the form of President Trump visiting the Royal Palace, having a guided tour through London in the royal stagecoach and playing golf on the royal golf links. And probably dozens of other privileges, reserved for only the most important visitors to the country.
Of course President Donald Trump was more than willing to visit the United Kingdom, but – “by the way, Prime Minister” – he was adamantly against meeting Prince Charles.
The prince is not only a long-term environmentalist and deeply involved in the battle against climate change, for which President Trump does not give one rat’s behind, but he is also gifted with a very effective ‘royal bluntness’ that bows for nobody and leaves no important subject untouched, as Chinese president Xi Jinping can confirm first hand.
Meeting Queen Elisabeth and the Princes William and Harry? No problem. But Charles? Forget it!
And now PM Theresa May comes into a perfect storm.
She must sweet-talk to a rude and unfriendly President, who made a ‘historical event’ of his first week after the inauguration, by desecrating more people than probably any president before him, including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. A person whom she probably (?) dislikes and who is hated by a substantial share of her own people for being the rude, angry and xenophobe person that he is. And she does so, almost continuously standing in the cross-fire of Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon, who is absolutely not pleased that Theresa May is going for the hard Brexit and who on top of that blames May for her weak conduct against the Muslim Ban of late.
Besides that Theresa May must beg Donald Trump for mercy, with respect to a future trade and partnership deal between the United States and the United Kingdom, after she finished the painstaking negotiations with the European Union upon the exit criteria.
And to make things even worse: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany almost immediately took a firm and crystalclear stance against the Muslim Ban by President Trump and was hailed and praised for that. Not only by other Europeans, but even by May’s own countrymen, who saw in Merkel’s appearance the backbone that Theresa May so dearly lacked in their eyes.
Of course it is solely to the British to decide whether May indeed ‘kept the right ones out and let the wrong ones in’ or that they still stand firmly behind her and the political choices she made.
However, few people will deny that a. President Trump made an absolute disaster of his first week as president and that b. Theresa May had just left him, when he deployed his despised and unfair Muslim Ban.