While the US president Donald Trump seemed willing enough during the historic Helsinki summit to mend US ties with Russia—and he did point his finger at Washington rather than Moscow for bad relations with Russia—it was evident even before the summit that certain quarters in Washington, the spoillers, aren’t in favour of giving US-Russia relations a new direction and that Washington, except the Oval office, largely remains a captive of ‘Russophobia’—and why would it not be, after all, ‘Russophobia’ remains a cornerstone of the US deep-state’s global strategy, a part of business and a way to perceive and construct global politics. It wans’t long ago when the deep-state was able, during the last years of Obama administration, to declare Russia a prime enemy of the West (the US and NATO). And today, the same deep-state continues to act as the prime stumbling block in the way of easing US-Russia relations.
This became evident when the summit was hit, even beofre it was held, by the last minute spoiller as the former FBI director, Robert Mueller, went on to accuse a number of Russian intelligence officials for meddling in the US elections. Such a craftly timed intervnetion, full of accuses but lacking hard evidences, was only meant to torpedo, or even reset the agenda to an altogetehr different scale and mood, the Helsinki summit. To an extent, this did happen as his indictment of Russian intellgence officials and the very question of Russia’s (alleged) involvement in US elections had to be discussed between Trump and Putin at great lenth and even received a lot of attention in their press briefings and post-summit interviews, weaning the attention away from the real questions and bechmarks of co-operations to steer conflict in Syria and elsewhere to a peaceful end.
While Putin’s offer to investigate officers named in Muller’s report shows that Russia’s stance on the question of meddling in US presidential elections remains unchanged, the spoliiers’ activity shows that, notwithsatnding the wonderful success of the Helsinki summit, the gains made in the summit may not prove enduring, and follow-up may be slow and hesitant from the US side.
No wonder John Brennan, a former CIA director, reflecting the deep-state’s anguish over the summit and Trump’s refusal to believe the US intelligence community’s claims of Russian meddling, called Trump’s statement as not only “treasoness” but also equated it with “high crime.”
And John McCain didn’t fail to join the fun of the spoillers’ party when he said that “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan also didn’t spare words to lash out at the president, saying that “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”
Therefore, while it seemed that the cold war is realy over now, the backlash from Washington proves that preparations for cold war 2.0, as some analysts have pointed out and as the reaction to summit shows, are active.
This was, however, always going to happen since Trump has, as his NATO summit statements and his statement after Helsinki show, is all set to fundamentally change America’s traditional Russia policy, something that is bound to shake things up in Washington and bound to receive such a reaction as we have outlined above. His tweet prior to summit very much summed up what Trump thinks has been the cause of bad realtions with Russia, saying “ “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Such tweetes were bound to irk the deep-state into action, leading its partner corporate media to claim that the (foolish) “Trump backs enemy Putin over U.S. intel” and commits an “open treason.” Should he be impeacehed for that?
Therefore, notwithsatnding the important questions, ranging from Syrian, Israel ad Iran to Ukraine and Crimea, that Trump and Putin discussed in the summit, the spoillers sitting in Washington would continue to sabotage the path towards normalization.
As such, while it certainly is refreshing to hear an American president cut through the cant and tell the unvarnished truth, it is no surprise to see the real enemy in the US playing the same ugly game. Therefore, while Trump may find in Putin a friend, he is unlikly to find in Washington’s spoillers a genuine peace-maker. So, what of them? Trump has to find a way to deal with them just as he has found a way to normalise realtions with Russia.
Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.