Dangerous isolation – Trump mirrors Brexit; by London Evening Standard

Our Foreign Secretary says he is “increasingly admiring” of Donald Trump’s style of diplomacy. Meanwhile, the leader of the Brexiteer backbenchers says it is “our national good fortune” to have Mr Trump in the White House.What is it that Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg so admire?Well, there is Mr Trump’s cavalier disregard for the multilateral institutions and alliances that hold the West together. He has just blown apart the G7 summit of allies and called his host, the Canadian Prime Minister, “weak and dishonest”.The Brexiteers, too, relish every sign of stress in the EU, would rather pull Britain out than engage in solving problems and enjoy name-calling Europe’s leaders.It is the approach of the isolationists down the ages.Perhaps, then, there is something for them to admire in the President’s personal style? The disregard for the evidence, the pride taken in the failure to read the brief, and the use of colourful language to ensure attention.In the early hours of this morning Mr Trump took to Twitter to spew out spurious economic figures in defence of protectionist policies, said the “Fair Trade” that underpins our economy should “now be called Fool Trade”, and turned his wrath on Nato.Brexiteers, too, make outlandish claims that acts of protection like leaving the customs union and the single market will boost our economy, dismiss evidence that says it will damage growth as “mumbo jumbo”, and attack the likes of the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Lords as “traitors”.Like the presidential promoter of “America First”, who attacks the patriotism of so many Americans, it’s strange how those who want our institutions to “take back control” have so little faith in them.Finally, is there anything for them to admire in the way Mr Trump likes to throw the cards of global diplomacy up in the air and see where they land?Well, there’s no doubt his approach led in part to the historic talks with Kim Jong-un that take place tomorrow.More conventional presidents would have been wary of granting the North Korean dictator such a prestigious stage, with so little secured yet in return. But, as the Evening Standard has written, it just might work and lead to peace.This approach prompted our Foreign Secretary to, as he put it, “imagine Trump doing Brexit”.“There would be all sorts of breakdowns, there would be all sorts of chaos” but you might get “somewhere”.But surely we don’t need to yearn for a Trump-style approach to Brexit or look to the White House for inspiration?We have already got the breakdowns and the chaos; the disregard for the facts and the experts; the belittling of foreigners and the disparaging name-calling; the undermining of the free economy and the stable world order.And, frankly, there’s not much to admire in any of that.

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