COMMENT:

The diplomatic standoff between the United States President and Britain isn't unlike the standoff our top diplomat experienced with the White House in the 1980s, although Twitter wasn't around for Ronnie Reagan to vent and even if it was, he would have held his own counsel.

The worse the Americans said over our anti-nuclear stance was the straight talking Secretary of State George Schultz telling David Lange in a hotel corridor in Manila that they part, but they part as friends.

Well they weren't friendly enough to ever invite to the White House the Ambassador to the United States the late Bill Rowling, briefly a former prime minister. He was given the cold shoulder during the three years he spent in DC.

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You can imagine the tenor of the cables Rowling sent back to Wellington from Washington.

Perhaps they might not have been as scathing as the leaked emails British ambassador Kim Darroch sent back home about the Trump administration, describing it as inept and dysfunctional. But that's the job of top diplomats, to tell it how they see it, and it's what democracy's all about, preserved by the Americans in the First amendment of their Constitution.

There's nothing free about speech when it comes to Donald Trump though. He's reacted like a toddler in an Oval Office playpen, clattering his ivory crowns, frothing at the mouth over his iPhone, punching his pudgy fingers on his Twitter account.

Even though The Don admitted to not knowing the belligerent Brit, he said he's not liked or well thought of Stateside and he was having nothing more to do with him, promptly cancelling an upcoming dinner invitation.

And his Twitter tirade wasn't just reserved for the diplomat - Theresa May, who'll be gone from the Prime Minister's job in a few weeks' time, came in for a cyber tongue-lashing even though Trump was singing her praises when he and his family descended on London just a few weeks back. May had no choice but to back the diplomat for doing his job but the Twitter toddler was having none of it.

He tweeted about the way she'd handled Brexit, saying she and her colleagues have created a mess even though he told her how it should be done, but she decided not to take his advice. Damn nerve.

Just imagine if Trump was left to handle it, there'd be war against Europe by now.

The Brits are resisting how they, or how any reasonable person, would want to respond. They've maintained their stiff upper lip and have sent their international trade secretary Liam Fox to Washington to apologise for the leak, not to The Don, but to his ever-present daughter Ivanka.

The good news out of all of this, Trump triumphed, is "the wonderful United Kingdom will soon have a new Prime Minister."

Trump's already told the Tories it should be his bad hair buddy Boris Johnson, because of course he's the most knowledgeable person ever to be born in the history of the world, except for Jesus, although for him that'd be debatable.

But whoever it is, Britain has a real dilemma - whether to be seen buckling to the bully and sacking the diplomat or keeping him in place and suffering the inevitable diplomatic consequences.

We kept ours in place and survived but then by comparison to Britain, we're a blip on the radar screen.