As President Trump heads to London for a state visit, extensive plans are afoot to give him the kind of welcome he deserves. Over the three-day visit there will be protests across the country, including major events in London, as well as Portsmouth where he will be heading for the D-Day commemorations.
There are so many issues on which to challenge him that the protests will be diverse and creative as well as hard-hitting and heartfelt. Our CND focus is on his nuclear and military policies and there are certainly plenty of those to get worked up about!
Trump highlighted a few of them on a recent visit to Japan to meet the new emperor and the prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Abe is notable for abandoning article 9 of Japan’s ‘peace constitution’, which had outlawed war as a means of resolving international disputes. Recently, the New York Times described Japan as taking an ‘authoritarian turn’ under Abe, and quoted Trump’s former chief strategist, the far-right Steve Bannon saying ‘Abe was Trump before Trump’, describing him as a great hero for being the first nationalist leader to govern an industrialized democracy.
Through the love-in of the press conference, various alarming developments were announced. Most strikingly, Trump revealed that he and Abe have agreed to expand their co-operation on human space exploration, with Japan joining US missions to the Moon and even Mars. ‘It’s very exciting’, said Trump, before going on to give us the real meat: ‘And from a military standpoint, there is nothing more important right now than space.’
Of course we know this has been on Trump’s agenda for a while. Just last summer he reconvened the National Space Council – on ice for years – and instructed the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to set up a sixth branch of the armed forces: the Space Force. Reagan and Bush were both enthusiasts for weapons in space but now Trump is making this an America First issue, proclaiming that America will always be first in space and that national pride is at stake. Describing it as so important for ‘the psyche’, he asserted, ‘We don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us.’
He went on to say, ‘When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important.’ But the trouble is, it’s not just this one area – US dominance is pretty much Trump’s approach to everything.
Take this together with pulling out of the INF Treaty, trashing the Iran nuclear deal, building so-called ‘usable’ nuclear weapons, bullying NATO members into spending more on defence – AKA buying more US weaponry – there is plenty for anti-nuclear campaigners to protest about. Please join us from 3rd to 5th June – wherever you are – to protest against Trump and make the case for a world of peace and justice, free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.