Divided by a Common Enemy

13 March 2018

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

American GOP Whitewashes, UK Tories Confront Russian Aggression

The Russian intelligence services have attacked both the US and Britain. In the case of the former, they intervened in the 2016 presidential election with the deliberate objectives of undermining the confidence of the American voters in the democratic process and of electing Donald Trump. In the case of the latter, they attacked a defector in Salisbury, Wiltshire, with a variety of Novichok, a class of nerve agent. The poisoning exposed hundreds in a pub and a restaurant to the substance. In the US, the Republican Party is working hard to cover everything up. In Britain, the Tories have given Mr. Putin until midnight to explain himself or face retaliation. They are two conservative parties divided by a common enemy.

On the American side, the House Intelligence Committee yesterday announced that it was concluding its investigation into Russian interference in the election. Or to be more accurate, the Republican majority on the committee made this announcement. The Democrats on the committee heard about it on TV. The main statement was that the Russians did not work to help Mr. Trump get elected.

This was, of course, a whitewash from the beginning. The committee did not issue a single subpoena, meaning witnesses could decline to appear, or if they did appear, they could decline to answer any question that made them uncomfortable. In addition, certain parties to the conspiracy against the electoral process between the Russians and Team Trump were never even called upon: Paul Manafort (the indicted ex-campaign manager of the president), Rick Gates (Mr. Manafort's lieutenant), Michael Flynn (former National Security Adviser forced out of office for lying about meetings with Russians), George Papadopoulos (who pled guilty to lying to investigators and whose loose talk started the whole investigation).

As this is being written, news has come in that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mr. Tillerson yesterday said that the Russians were behind the British chemical attack, and that consequences were warranted. His exact words were, "it certainly will trigger a response. I'll leave it at that." He is now unemployed. Clearly, Mr. Trump doesn't like blaming Russian crimes on Russia.

Compare this callow and cowardly response to that of Prime Minister May (whose party has accepted close to a million pounds in donations from ex-Russians who are now British subjects).  The Guardian reports, "After chairing a meeting of the national security council, the prime minister told MPs that it was 'highly likely' that Russia was responsible for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. She warned that Britain would not tolerate such a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil."

The PM added, "Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."

There are a number of actions she can take from expelling diplomats and sanctioning additional kleptocrats to cyberattacks on Russian interests and seizure of Russian assets in the UK. One expects a significant response and the typical whining from the Kremlin and a counter-move.

Russia can afford to turn the other cheek, however, with the UK since the ruling party in Britain's foremost ally seems to take Russia's side in everything.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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