US President’s visit to Britain

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Demonstrators on February last year rally in Parliament Square against a planned state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump (AP Photo)

US President Donald John Trump is scheduled to visit Britain for three days on 13th July. He is the 45th and current President of the United States. He took office on January 20, 2017. Trump would arrive in Britain after a NATO summit in Brussels and shortly before a summit in Helsinki (capital of Finland) with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

His current wife is Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs, Germanized to Melania Knauss) was born on April 26, 1970, in Novo Mesto, Slovenia (then part of communist Yugoslavia). Her father was a car dealer and her mother was a designer for children’s clothing.

Trump is a German and German-American family, descended from Johann Philipp Trump (1667–1707) from Kallstadt in then Electoral Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire, to-day in modern Germany. While the surname Trump is found throughout Germany, it is recorded as the name of his family in the US.

He took charge of his family’s real estate business in 1971, renamed it “The Trump Organization” and expanded it. Trump later started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products.

Trump is a billionaire real estate mogul and former reality television personality.  He used to host the programme “Apprentice”- an American reality television program that judges the business skills of a group of contestants. It has run in various formats across fifteen seasons since January 2004 on NBC.

Trump has been a successful business man while Theresa May, a Vicar’s daughter and an Oxford educated person, has been a successful politician. She has been the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2016. She served as Home Minister (Home Secretary) from 2010-2016. She has been a MP since 1997.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Aman Khan, (born into a working class British Pakistani family in South London) has been serving as a Mayor of London since 2016. He has been outspoken critic and is reportedly opposed to Trump’s visit to London.

Generally the British people do not like Trump for his policies. Protests are expected across London. A fund has been created a thousand people reportedly contributed British Pound 16,000 to the crowd-funding campaign.

During Trump’s visit, it is reported that a “Trump Baby” balloon (a 19-feet high and in orange colour) is set to be flown close to British Parliament subject to the approval of the Metropolitan Police and National Air Traffic Service in order for it to fly The balloon will be first located in the ground of Parliament Square Garden and under the law would not be able to float higher than 98 feet (30 metres).

The relations between US and Britain have been considered as “Special Relationship” since British Prime Minister Winston Churchill coined the term. Although the UK and US have close relationships with many other nations, the level of cooperation between them in economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology, and intelligence sharing has been described as “unparalleled” among major powers.

However the relationships witnessed a see-saw game in the past.  For example, in 1956, when Britain attacked Egypt without informing the US administration of President Eisenhower resulted in the worst crisis of US-UK relations. The relations were considered to have improved greatly during the period of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. The special relationship was further reinforced between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush over the Iraq war in 1991 over Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass-destruction.

However, the lack of Iraqi weapons mass destruction drew opposition from both sides of the Atlantic, with some describing Blair as a “puppet of Bush”. While Blair’s close relationship with Bush was reportedly claimed to have used the same tooth paste, the British leaders tended to see good relations with President Barack Obama as an asset.

Obama was popular in Britain and Prime Minister David Cameron was keen to portray their closeness. The closeness was reportedly conveyed when both the leaders played table- tennis in London in 2011 and Cameron ate hotdogs with Obama as they took in a university basketball game in Ohio.

However Trumps’s victory in the 2016 reportedly shocked British diplomats and relations between Prime Minister May and President Trump have been strained at times. Despite the occasional fault in their relationship, the May’s visit to Washington in January 2017 became the first foreign leader to meet the President Trump. In Washington, Trump was seen taking May’s hand to help her down the steps of a White House colonnade and this enduring image has been considered as the reflection of closeness between the two leaders.

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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