In the midst of the crippling political crisis in Britain, extending an invitation to Donald Trump to undertake a trans-Atlantic state visit ~ the third US President to be honoured thus ~ has been criticised in the United Kingdom as an act of gross irresponsibility.
Quite simply, there is more at stake than the pomp and grandeur. What the pugnacious President Trump could have scarcely imagined was the tut-tutting by the Queen over his debunking of international entities that were put in place after World War II to bring about peace on earth. Chiefly, he has debunked the United Nations as an “anachronism” almost immediately after stepping into the White House.
It is quite another story that some of these organisations have over time ceased to be proactive, let alone effectual. Yet they cannot be deemed to be irrelevant. The last thing that the President had expected at Buckingham Palace was the remarkably firm word of caution from the Queen, now 93.
She has spoken her mind as few Heads of State and Government have done in the decades since the war, indulging instead on clumsy diplomacy. Closely related to the word of caution by a nonagenarian monarch was her reminder ~ assuming that Mr Trump needed to be reminded ~ of a momentous historical document.
Pre-eminently, the presentation of the Atlantic Charter, the blueprint on freedom and cooperation that was concluded in 1941 by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt. The fineprint being that the lessons of history have been forgotten, and not least by the United States, in the midst of the ignoble strife in different parts of the world.
The Queen’s banquet speech has gone beyond the customary exchange of diplomatic pleasantries. She hasn’t put too fine a point on it and has placed President Trump on notice, fair and square, specifically that the world’s most powerful Head of State has been decidedly contemptuous of multilateral organisations, notably the United Nations and NATO.
Queen Elizabeth II has choreographed history, just as the international entities form a vital chapter of the post-war narrative. And this must rank as an event of paramount importance during the US President’s state visit, notably her stirring presentation ~ “While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures ~ nations working together to safeguard a hardwon peace.”
The years since the war ~ up until the present day ~ bear witness to a travesty of the certitudes of international cooperation. The organisations that were formed in the mid-1940s exemplify the overwhelming delusion and reality, when not brutal repression. As much is the subtext of the Queen’s banquet address.
The world must fervently hope that the speech shall not be overshadowed by the commemorations on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Historians will hopefully be riveted to the Queen’s presentation, that was bereft of the traditional British understatement.