The May-Trump Realpolitik is Vital in the Face of Assad | Monika Užkalnytė

As a young conservative, I am treated to a plethora of interesting (to the point of amusing) comments about my political views, one of my most treasured being, “What do you mean you support Theresa May’s decisions? She’s best friends with Trump!” If anyone is able to identify at what point in time a handshake and a conversation escalated from being a standard diplomatic procedure, to being a tight knit relationship, do enlighten me.

Make no mistake, I myself am no advocate of Trump, nor do I believe that he necessarily has the savoir faire needed to aid Britain in gaining the sort of Brexit deal that they are looking for, or need. Nevertheless, he is the current 45th president of the United States, incumbent for the next four years, and this situation is a reality that we must all accept and face. I have little understanding of those who try to combat this, either through protest or dialogue, their efforts prolific.

It is imperative that we work with our surroundings as opposed to working against them. Yes, going against the flow has undoubtedly worked in the past. The roots of historical and political change have been observed in protest and opposition. However, there are some situations, such as Trump’s presidency (and likewise Brexit), that are now set in stone. Would it not be more beneficial to work around that stone, instead of aimlessly trying to shift it, aggravating the gravel underneath?

A press conference and luncheon have never equated to friendship. The United Kingdom and the United States have had a deep-rooted, meaningful relationship for centuries – and it is one that must be maintained, particularly at this time, with the looming uncertainty over Britain’s future economic landscape. A secure US-UK trade deal is paramount to an easier transition away from the European Union – how else can we secure this without a positive relationship between the two leaders? Theresa May’s willingness to communicate and remain calm in the presence of Donald Trump is mere realpolitik, thus it is unjust to jump to hasty conclusions, such as shaking his hand signals her support for a wall with Mexico, or a flickering smile symbolizing agreement with regards to a ban on all Muslims.

Our Prime Minister’s behaviour reflects high diplomacy, in the context of a burdensome and complex situation. Her critics also fail to propose an alternative: should Mrs May refuse to engage with him? Should she disregard his presence entirely? Her critics seem all too quick to criticise, whilst offering little in the way of alternatives.
Another reason of why May and Trump’s relationship should be cherished, and not critiqued, is due to Donald Trump’s recent decision of launching missile strikes against Assad Bashar, in response to a recent chemical weapon attack.

By launching the cruise missiles, Mr Trump has achieved several significant changes, that could result in a complete repeal of US policy. Firstly, the launching of the missiles gave a clear demonstration of the US’s unequivocal message to Assad- chemical weapons are an unnecessary evil, and without any further external repercussions, the use of such weapons shall persist.
This message can reach out further than to Syria, challenging other superpowers such as Russia and China to reconsider precisely how much power and capacity for unpredictable actions the US yields. A nation possessing strong military power may cause external trepidation, but a nation using its strong military power can result in absolute dominion. This was precisely one of President Obama’s largest downfalls, as he did not utilize the power that he was endowed with to attempt to fix the rubble that was left of Syria. By not picking up the pieces, he left room for a better Syria legacy, which President Trump swiftly snatched the title of.

Our prime minister has made it clear that she condemns Assad, and disapproves of all the damage and suffering that the regime has caused. Although a military response from Britain appears to be unlikely, supporting a strong nation such as the US, who will now be more feared than ever, should be highly beneficial to the social security of Britain. This will grant us a greater sense of stability and protection in the face of the heinous circumstances that have been created by Assad.

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