I am very fortunate to have been born sunny side up and most of the time feel optimistic about life.
However, the news that, with Governor DeSantis pulling out of the presidential race over the weekend, it now seems certain that Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate at the US Presidential election in November this year and (worse) is likely to win, has created in me waves of despondency about future global events.
How is it possible that a creative dynamic democracy of 331 million people such as USA can possibly have created a political system in which Donald Trump and Joe Biden are the two best candidates?
I have been to the States four times during my Parliamentary career and met plenty of very talented and impressive senators and congressmen and women. Where are they all?
It’s not so much the age of the two dinosaur candidates (77 and 81 respectively) it is their ability to lead in a highly complex dangerous and nuanced world.
You might ask, why does it matter?
The answer is very clear: the reality of modern geo-politics.
The institutions set up in the last century do not function effectively. T
he permanent five members of the United Nations security council are China, Russia, the USA, the UK and France and any one of them cam veto any vote on any proposed peace-keeping or peace-making intervention, and frequently do.
That is why, during my lifetime, the UN has rarely been the vehicle through which rogue nations have been brought to book. Rather it has been the “coalition of the willing”, invariably led by the USA (and usually supported by the UK).
In other words, although mistakes have clearly been made the US has acted as a benign global policeman since the second world war. And there is no one else to play that role. The President of the USA can still legitimately be called the leader of the free world.
So it matters to us who he or she is. The decision that person takes affects all of us, even here in the South Hams.
With China restless over Taiwan, Iran approaching ownership of nuclear weapons, Putin’s Russia engaged in a ruthless land-grab in Eastern Europe and North Korea churning out long range missiles for a pastime, this world is a dangerous place.
With artificial intelligence about to cast its spell over the way we live, the world is a complex place.
Surely it is not too much to ask that the occupant of the White House is neither a megalomaniac charlatan or an octogenarian obviously struggling with mental acuity?
As my old boss John Major might have said: “Oh dear!”