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Jamaicans shouldn't get caught up in anti-Trump hysteria

By Gerald Gordon

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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Brushing aside the rather delusional and unbelievably juvenile suggestion that Jamaica should “call in” the American ambassador over his China comments, Jamaicans would do well to avoid being caught up in the anti-Donald Trump hysteria.

The old worn-out notion that every time an ambassador opens his or her mouth about a local issue is interference in the internal affairs of a nation has long given way to freedom of expression, especially about important international issues.

Political parties may recognise counterparts in other countries but governments recognise governments and seek to maintain respectful and productive relationships on behalf of their citizens.

So when US Ambassador Donald Ray Tapia speaks on China, he is representing the position of the Trump Administration, which is in a trade war and generally adversarial relationship with China.

It's a total lack of understanding of international relations that would lead to such a suggestion about calling in Mr Tapia. Such diplomatic actions must be left for much more grave and intrusive actions that rise to the level of “calling in” an envoy.

Thankfully, Jamaica's Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith has unhesitatingly swatted away that embarrassing bit of petulance, telling The Gleaner, which carried the piece, that she “had taken note of the editorial, but would go no further than that”.

The call comes in the context of the virulent anti-Trump hysteria that Jamaicans would do well to avoid. No Jamaican is under any obligation to like the president of any other country. But it would certainly make sense to look at their performance to see whether it's in the interest of our country.

We can admit that Mr Trump has not had even a day's honeymoon from attacks by his political opponents who have found in his every action something for which to denigrate him.

No other president has been subject to such a non-stop barrage.

Yet he has proven to be good for Jamaica by maintaining a strong economy in a country that is our most important economic partner; achieving record levels of employment and rising wages, bringing more jobs to African-Americans, including Jamaican emigrants, and Latinos read rising remittances.

Moreover, it is widely believed in Washington that Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness is regarded by the Trump Administration as the leader of the Commonwealth Caribbean, which obviously redounds to the benefit of Jamaica.

For example, Mr Trump is more likely to consider Mr Holness' view on US immigration policy, and specifically chain migration, which is of critical importance to Jamaica as the means by which most Jamaicans have migrated to the US.

Mr Trump being a counter-puncher which is his right would probably do well not to dignify every action of his attackers with a Twitter response. But who can blame him when his political opponents are now trying to impeach him without a shred of evidence of the wrongdoing they accuse him of.

It is clear from the impeachment hearings so far that no one has been able to prove that the US president attempted to force the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden to benefit his 2020 election bid.

They have abandoned the long held justice standard that one is innocent until proven guilty, instead continuing to seek evidence as they go along. We in Jamaica would not find such an approach acceptable or fair, no matter who was in power.

Jamaicans have historically favoured the Democrats over the Republicans, but this is a clear case when Mr Trump is right and they are wrong. He deserves a fair shake.


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