Demonstrators inflate a giant balloon depicting US President Donald Trump as an orange baby in Parliament Square in London on June 4, 2019, on the second day of Trump's three-day state visit to the UK. Photo: AFP / Tolga Akmen

US President Donald Trump’s official state visit to the UK has sparked fizzing controversy – but maybe the protesters are launching misguided attacks. Thousands of demonstrators from the Stop Trump movement lined the streets of London to protest against Britain rolling out the red carpet for President Trump and First Lady Melania.

The official opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, among others, refused to attend a state banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on the president’s first day.

Organizers of the Together Against Trump protest have billed the protests as a “carnival of resistance,” with demonstrators gathering at Trafalgar Square declaring it a “Trump-free zone.”

And soaring above it all, the giant, orange inflatable baby Trump balloon.

They probably have legitimate concerns about Trump, but I wonder if they should be focusing their attention on an area that could bring the world to a global recession: his ongoing trade wars.

This state visit is, very clearly, about pomp and ceremony, about having some of the Royals’ global influence and glamour rub off. There is only one short meeting with the prime minister, which, tellingly, is not a bilateral, high-stakes one, with many others in that room.

It is, therefore, not really about politics this time – but it should be.

And demonstrators should be attacking his trade policies, not the fact that the democratically elected leader of the United States, the UK’s largest and most powerful ally in the world, is having tea with the heir to the British throne.

Indeed, to me, it seems pretty obvious he would be afforded a state visit. Strategically less important, and more controversial, undemocratically appointed leaders have been welcomed in the same way.

Strangely, there have been no fraught mass protests regarding Trump’s multi-front trade wars that make a global economic downturn a real possibility.

Increasing protectionism, the dispute between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies – and now possibly another one between the US and Mexico – will unquestionably negatively impact consumers globally by creating more difficult business conditions for companies, forcing them to pass higher prices on to customers.

In turn, this will drive a far-reaching cut in demand, leading job- and wealth-creating companies around the world to slash costs, meaning less investment, fewer jobs, and, therefore, less tax for governments to spend on vital projects.

Last month, Trump raised the tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. US representatives have also threatened to impose tariffs on $300 billion worth of remaining Chinese imports.

On Thursday, “The Donald” took to Twitter to announce that a 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico would take effect on June 10. The tariff would then rise by 5 percentage points each month, topping out at 25% by October. Trump said the tariffs were in response to illegal-immigration issues.

His abashed protectionism will hit individuals, families, businesses and governments around the world.

People on the streets should be calling for him to drop the tit-for-tat dispute and urge him toward free trade and the scrapping of US-led protectionist policies in order to enhance the global economy.

Leave a comment