Hello everybody. Please allow me to explain the backdrop to this article.
The events of this past week, following of course the momentous Brexit conflict now blooming in the UK, have caused a number of people some consternation. I am talking of course about Trump's recent visit to Europe and the NATO summit. His attitude may have a lot of people worried about the future of NATO and the European Union.
Let me start off by saying two things. Firstly, I believe in the European ideal and while I know it has a number of problems, I believe that we need to work together to solve them rather than try top blow it up, as I perceive is the intention behind many hard line Brexiteers actions.
That said, my second more important point in the context of this article is my feeling towards Russia. I do not hate and despise it religiously as many people do in the UK, that is if we believe everything that we read in the papers. Don't get me wrong! Its not that I believe they are saintly and do not do any of those treacherous deeds they are accused of. Its that I believe they do them in exactly the same way as all of the governments that claim to be in the world's front line of politics and diplomacy. From America to Britain, Israel, China, India, etc. etc.
Occasionally, one side or the other gets caught. OK, I get it. BUT ... I do not believe that everything that goes wrong in the world can be blamed on them. For example that Putin was behind the Skripal poisonings. It just was not in their interest, most especially at the time it occurred. I do believe however that Putin and Russia have an on-going program of interference in Western democracy elections, especially the USA.
As for the Skripal poisonings, my contention is based on logic. Putin is not an idiot, and I don't believe on the eve of his big diplomacy coup, the World cup, he would risk such a meaningless gesture. Far more likely, a rogue Russian element, or possibly an ignorant one, thinking he we was doing Putin a favour, acted on his own. That said, the reaction of the UK authorities and the fact that both victims survived the 'unsurvivable' make the Russian claim that the British had something to do with it more believable. However as a betting man I would give 9:1 odds on the Russian factor.
This pathological suspicion in the UK, of Russia, inherited no doubt from the USA; is amplified in America. Trump has his supporters and among them are the most vehemently opposed Russian haters on this earth. The only thing that would cause them to stop and rethink their support for Trump, is indisputable truth that he knowingly supported Russia over American interests. This is the reason that Mueller and his investigation can continue, effectively unobstructed (except for shouting on the sidelines). He has wisely made sure that all his actions are directed exclusively at Russia, and will only involve Trump when and if he has indisputable proof.
This Russophobia is not simply a populist phenomenon. It is ingrained in the American DNA. Front line in the fight against Russia is the concept of NATO. True, it may be like an old and battered 70 year old jalopy, but make no mistake, it is much loved. There is no way in hell any Congress or Senate, even if it were 100% Republican, would allow any President, even one of their own, to destroy NATO without a fight. This week, while Trump hogged the headlines in Europe, Congress passed a resolution and made a statement praising NATO and giving its loyal support; with a majority of 97 to 3, an unheard of result for an institution so divided as it is today.
Furthermore Mueller, a master strategist as far as I am concerned, (bet he plays a mean game of chess), chose this week of all weeks to issue an indictment through the Washington courts, to 12 named Russian agents, for tampering in the 2016 elections and who are also accused of attempting to bias the elections in Trump's favour. This will make Trump's visit to Finland to talk to Putin, awkward at best, because at any other time, any other President would be obliged to tell Putin, hand over the accused for trial please.
I don't see Putin complying, do you?