I have been watching Donald Trump closely for more than a year and I have come to the considered opinion that he is a fucking idiot. Yes, this is a somewhat belated Damascene conversion: many of you arrived at this conclusion even long before I was whooping and hollering in paroxysms of pleasure at his election a year ago. Hell, sometimes I get things wrong — apologies. I accept entirely that his constant tweeting is an attempt to counter an almost uniformly hostile press corps both in the USA and abroad. But that does not excuse the sheer illiteracy and pig-ignorance, the boastful, often spiteful, and inane childishness of said communications. I visualise him, as he is banging out these frequently deranged messages on his tablet, doing that weird epicene puckering of the mouth thing, and then feeling pleased with himself.
But that is not the main reason I’ve become Trump-averse. It’s the other stuff. The ludicrous and embarrassing exchanges with Kim Jong-un, for a start — two stunted mentals yelling insults in a borstal playground, even if Trump’s deeds in that neck of the woods have been -rather more judicious than his words (so far). Act with dignity and a bit of reserve, you flatulent oaf. Then, worst of all, his brutal and stupid military action against the Syrian air force, which scuppered any chance of a swift rapprochement with Russia (one of the main reasons I was pro-Trump) and in direct contravention of his stated — and wise — policy of radical non-intervention. I still don’t know why he did that. To show he was strong? To appease the anti-Assad liberals in the USA and Europe? To convince us all that he was not in hock to Putin? And his general ignorance of the world, of history, of the geo-political. He is simultaneously Swift’s Yahoo and William Golding’s Jack, from Lord of the Flies — a 12-year-old psycho suddenly freed from the usual moral constraints and given his own country to play with.
I still loathe most of the people who -really loathe Trump, but I am beginning to see that they had a point. An old truism: simply because it’s in the Guardian doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Only most of the time is it wrong. When they were screaming about his stupidity a year ago, I shrugged my shoulders and replied — yeah, y’all sneered just the same at first about Reagan, second best president of the last 70 years, after Truman. But Trump is palpably no Reagan. The only defence I can offer is that I would have preferred Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders. Preferably on a joint ticket. But in the end I was still for Trump when it came down to it.
And yet for all that, Trump has suddenly done at least one thing right. He has withdrawn his country from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), citing — rightly — anti–Israel bias. He is not the first American president to do so: Reagan pulled out in 1984. Oddly enough it was George W. Bush who in 2002 took the USA back in, and Barack Obama who later withdrew funding, again on account of its patently pro-Hamas agenda.
The sooner we pull out, the better, even if our contributions to the organisation are, comparatively, chicken feed: £14 million at the latest count out of an overall budget of about £300 million. The public may know of Unesco for its championing of heritage sites across the world, but in truth it is the provisional wing of the United Nations, pursuing an anti-western, anti-capitalist, anti-Israeli agenda which lays the blame for third-world poverty entirely at the feet of the old colonial powers (yes even for the poverty in those third-world countries which were never colonised and are today even worse off than the ones which were). Its primary aim is to foist the countries of our planet with a ‘World Core Curriculum’, designed to inculcate a left-liberal mindset upon -people who do not remotely want it.
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that this bien-pensant beanfeast is led by a politician who was trained by the KGB and was once a proud member of Todor -Zhivkov’s magnificently unpleasant Bulgarian communist party, later renamed the Bulgarian socialist party, with its exciting history of violent purges, dictatorship, censorship, imprisonment, show trials and slavish devotion to Moscow. Irina Bokova is also notable for being a champion of Azerbaijan, that bastion of democracy, and once hosted a photo exhibition entitled: ‘Azerbaijan — Land of Tolerance!’ just as 90 Azerbaijani journalists were being banged up for writing stuff the government didn’t like.
The vice president of Azerbaijan (she’s also the first lady of that benighted country) was also handed Unesco’s highest award — the Mozart Medal — by Bokova. When you learn that a chap called Kalin Mitrev has apparently received almost half a million euros from an Azerbaijani equity company, you may begin wondering if there might be something a bit whiffy about these baubles and that exhibition. You don’t know Kalin? Oh come on, keep up. Kalin is Irina’s hubby, who now works for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. She denies knowing anything about the payments and he says they’re completely above board, being payment for services rendered by him in a private capacity before he joined the EBRD.
Even if we should give Irina and Kalin the benefit of any doubt, Unesco is not worth a single penny of UK money. With every year that passes, it seeks to advance its agenda by sticking the boot into Israel and recognising Palestinian sovereignty. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration — coming up next month — than by leaving Unesco entirely and stating our unequivocal support for the Middle East’s only democratic government, which, for all its undoubted faults, is a far more deserving recipient of the UK’s support and largesse than some super-annuated third sector satrapy led by a former commie with a rich husband.