Flynn resigned as national security advisor for having contacts with Russia, not reporting them accurately and losing president’s trust. Sessions, the US Attorney General has recused himself from the investigations into Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election. He said that he should not be investigating a campaign he had a role in. Tillerson, the US Secretary of State is almost in the hiding for obvious reasons. He was close to Putin. The current NSA is serving general. Media reports show that he was rebuked by the army in 2015 for his handling of sexual assault case. Since he is a three start general, McMaster will need Senate confirmation to serve as NSA.
The senior Democrats have demanded resignation of Sessions on grounds of perjury. Sessions admitted failing to disclose his two meetings with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearing under oath. Lying under oath is perjury under the US law. It shows that a handful of Trump top team members are already compromised. Trump is likely to loses his Secretary of State, NSA and the Attorney General in days to come. The Justice Department and the FBI are already working on the Russia connection in the 2016 US Presidential election. Politicians will also join through committees, special closed door prosecutions or open Bipartisan Independent Commission allowing public hearings and live broadcasts.
The best option for Trump is to replace all the team members who were dealing with Russia during his campaign and onwards. After cleaning his house, he should come back to his base and defend his pro-Russia policy. He said that Russia is good for America. If he believes in his policy then he should take his voters in confidence and “reset” US-Russia relations. It will end all the conspiracies. Period.
Those who voted for Trump are not interested in political showdown in Washington. They need jobs, funding and projects running. Trump needs to put Congress to work. By this time Obama had already gotten approval of more than $860bn projects. It is wrong to say that Russia is behind Hillary’s defeat. Had Russia influenced last US presidential elections, Hillary wouldn’t have won two million more votes than Trump. The simple fact is that the system allowed Trump to win. The candidate who wins required number of votes first wins the state. If there is something to blame it is the system.
Blaming Brexit on Russia is funny. May has challenged Nicola Sturgeon on second referendum. The experts have pointed out that it could lead to independence of Scotland. Le Pen has promised Frexit. The reality is workers are voting against governments that failed to serve their interests. It is no rocket science that number of poor people has increased and they have voted for change. Call it anti-globalization vote, government failure or whatever. The basic point is workers need a break. Politicians should bring policies to end grueling poverty, long working hours and real social welfare for which taxes are paid.
The colonised world under the monarchies America was as symbol of hope. America was British colony. It got rid of them. But when American leaders want to keep ‘special relations’ with the British it undermines the global fight against justice, freedom and empowerment. Historians believe that had American stayed out of the World Wars, the world would have been lot better and freer.
In post-west world, new alliances are being formed. If British foreign minister can plan to meet his Russian counterpart why should US foreign policy be held hostage by others? Most of the European states have working relations with Russia. Trump wants to have good relations with China which is having good relations with Russia. It makes sense to join the team instead of staying away. There is no threat to Europe. NATO is not the responsibility of American taxpayers. Trump should build good working relations with Asia so that Europe follows it and integrates with ever expanding infrastructure of trade and commerce in the region. It will allow him to serve America and save billions that are being spent on Europe’s defense. Moscow alone cannot be blamed for the Ukraine crisis. Corruption is a major problem in settling the crisis.
Finally, Trump’s allegation of ‘wiretapping of his phones’ is wrong. It is policy of the state to monitor overseas calls. He cannot blame the state for performing its duty. If Trump doesn’t support it, he should scrap the policy. Flynn should have resigned. The others should also go. It is job of the establishment to uphold law and justice and the investigation is step in right direction. All rogue politicians should be held accountable to law including Mike Pence. As Sessions said, no one is above the law.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.