DONALD Trump’s visit to the UK could produce some of the biggest protests since the Iraq War, and rightly so. I said it a fortnight ago, and I’ll say it again, he really isn’t an ordinary president.

I doubt many of you will disagree with this, although sceptics may wonder what an ordinary president looks like. Nixon, a ruthless paranoiac spying on his countless real and imagined enemies? Reagan, who let loose death squads against Latin America’s democrats? Clinton, whose bombing raids against distant, unpopular countries inevitably overlapped with press reporting of his extramarital affairs? Or George W Bush, so fixated by his father’s weakness that he left another million Iraqis dead?

In many ways, Trump fits the pattern of vain, thin-skinned, deluded men who disgraced their office with personal vendettas, flirted with impeachment and made the world a more dangerous place.

But he still stands out, not just for his low character and apish manners, but for of the era that he personifies. Trump represents the worst in our failing capitalist democracies. The triumph of his tone-lowering inspires all the darkest and most dangerous forces in the global north, most obviously in post-Soviet central and Eastern Europe, but no country is immune. That’s why it’s vital we unite against him, even if that means linking arms with Alastair Campbell or Nick Clegg.

Still, to paraphrase the master of ruinous American alliances, being tough on Trump doesn’t mean forgetting the causes of Trump. In an era where all traditional centre-left parties are languishing, it’s vital that an anti-Trump opposition movement doesn’t revive the politics of Hillary Clinton, or we’ll be responsible for many new Donalds.

I was reminded of this point while reading Andrew Rawnsley’s recent interview with Madeleine Albright. Albright was Hillary Clinton’s chief propagandist, the woman who most successfully weaponised feminism against Bernie Sanders. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” she claimed, which, if taken seriously, would have led feminists to campaign for Thatcher against Michael Foot and for Marine Le Pen against Macron. Panicked by this implication, Albright retracted, half-heartedly, but the damage was done.

Actually, that was only Albright’s second most famous quotation. It was as secretary of state under Bill Clinton that she delivered her most celebrated one-liner, and it’s much, much darker: “we think the price is worth it”. The price she was referring to was the death of a reported half million Iraqi children. What on Earth could justify such a heavy price? Why, the ill-fated sanctions regime on Iraq, of course.

Imagine the indignation if an Islamist leader claimed that 2000 deaths on 9/11 was a “price worth paying”. Now multiply that by 25. If we lived in a world where all lives counted equally, that’s how the world would react to Albright’s admission.

And it wasn’t simply an on-camera slip. It fitted with Albright’s strident American imperialism, an outlook that, like Hillary, she sees as fully consistent with liberal feminism.

“If we have to use force, it is because we are America – we are the indispensable nation,” Albright said. “We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.”

Today, though, Albright has been rehabilitated, celebrated as an icon of academia and statesmanship. Many view her as a titan of feminist legitimacy. Her statement about Iraqi children has been struck from the record: Rawnsley mentions the “special place in hell”, but doesn’t note her infamous remarks on the value of Arab lives.

Basking in her new status, Albright has published a new book, with the strident label Fascism: A Warning. For me, it highlights the danger inherent in any anti-Trump coalition. It testifies to a determination among liberal Democrats to erase their own culpability in the rise of Trump, to “Trump-wash” history so that all their elitist pandering to millionaires, all their imperialism in office, becomes acceptable by contrast. After all, who wants to be accused of pandering to fascism? The word tends to silence objective criticism.

Even Rawnsley, one of journalism’s most celebrated centrist Dads, seems to grow exasperated at her hand-wringing antics. “I suggest [to Albright] that it is not good enough for liberal internationalists to simply bewail Trump and his fellow travellers,” he says. Globalisation, he notes, “turned out to be – or has certainly come to be seen as being – a very bad choice for less affluent sections of Western societies.”

Predictably, Albright has no response to this, other than a shrug of the shoulders. She thinks “liberal” globalisation works, for everyone – period. The recent failure of the post-1989 consensus, in her view, has nothing to do with rising inequality or the 2008 crisis and everything to do with a darkness in human nature that allows fascism to lurk in the dark corners.

Surely, I’m tempted to comment, the real darkness in our nature is whatever allows us to write off the deaths of half a million children?

It’s clear that the Democrat establishment has no wish to learn any lessons. They have actually gone backwards from Obama, who at least officially acknowledged that runaway inequality and the intermingling of corporate with political power was a threat to American democracy. Thanks to Trump, Democrats don’t feel they have to make these concessions. “Liberal internationalism” good, isolationism bad. Period. That’s all we need to know. Anything else, and we’re pandering to fascism.

I’m not just worried that Albright and Clinton are getting away with it, although, don’t get me wrong – I am worried about that. Because America is the dominant world power, and because we live by the law of victor’s justice, even their most grotesque leaders tend to get rehabilitated. Think of Richard Nixon, who, by the end of his life, was a celebrated elder statesman rather than a crook. George W Bush has already been reclaimed as a mild mannered, folksy outsider artist, rather than a war criminal. And so on. If history is any judge, even Trump could be salvaged; Albright and Clinton are almost guaranteed a pardon.

But there’s a bigger worry than historical reputations. The broadest possible anti-Trump coalition is necessary for one main reason: his example could inspire the most toxic forces on our continent, where the forces of reaction are ready to exploit the historic failures of the centre-left. But if broadness comes at the expense of criticism, if we fail to learn the lessons from our brutal kicking in 2016, then we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

I’m happy to march with Hillary Clinton or Madeleine Albright. But their arrogance, elitism and fawning over wealth were among the main causes of Trump’s success, and I’m not willing to forget that.