Donald Trump is not a person to be taken seriously as the President of the United States unless he was the President of the United States. But he is. Hence, it is a relief he has rebuffed India’s invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. It is a mystery which mandarin’s idea was it to invite a man least qualified to accept the salute of the Indian Armed Forces: A US President whose private parts are described in detail by a porn star he paid off—though Indian activists are protesting Sunny Leone’s role in a new film—and a trigger-happy boor who tweeted, “It’s freezing and snowing in New York... we need global warming”.
It can be said with confidence Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been spared a huge embarrassment on the last R-Day of his first term, for Trump is constantly an accident waiting to happen anywhere, anytime. At Trump’s first NATO meet (mind you, NATO is a US-led coalition), he behaved like an ill-bred school bully, shoving Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way to take the front place in a line of world leaders for a photo-op.
Can one confidently assume he wouldn’t have pushed aside Modi himself in the VIP stands to accept the R-Day salute solo? What could have stopped him from getting into a white-knuckle contest with our frail but charmingly indomitable foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, like he did with French President Emmanuel Macron, who squeezed hard right back?
Chief guests at India’s January 26 parade have belonged to the honour list of world leaders: Sukarno, Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, et al. Trump is being investigated for his shady role in Russia’s hacking of the US elections, but in Moscow he blamed his own country as President Vladimir Putin looked on with a benign smile. For all you know, Trump could have, on January 26, spitefully accused Anil Ambani of rigging the Rafale contract because India refuses to buy the US’s F35 fighter planes.
World leaders, except for dictators like Putin and Kim Jong-un, are publicly contemptuous of Trump: the UN General Assembly laughed at him when he declared his administration had “accomplished more than almost any” in US history. Trump’s initial reaction to columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudis was: “What does it have to do with us?” It has now emerged that Britain knew Khashoggi was going to be killed because he planned to expose Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in the Yemen war.
Britain unsuccessfully “begged” the Saudis to call the hit off. If MI6 knew, CIA knew it too. If CIA knew, it can be safely assumed Trump knew.It will be too embarrassing now to invite another world leader after Trump’s snub. As David Frost said, “To say nothing, especially when speaking, is the art of diplomacy.” About Trump, there is little left to be said.