Putin’s Russia is by no means a righteous victim of US and British propaganda. Just as the European Union, the US, and the UK have their own geopolitical interests, so too does Russia. When it comes to the game of propaganda, counter-propaganda, fake news, and misinformation they are all as bad as one another. Yes, RT may have thrown the Scottish independence movement a few bones, and Russia’s meddling in the Brexit referendum may prove to be to our benefit, but we cannot afford to be uncritical the methods. The crippling of democracy in the UK...
Russia’s big bite has thus far been a dazzling success. In the Trump election we see that Putin has most likely purchased for himself the highest prize in international politics – the US president. US influence over the UK and the success of its cyber war in Britain and the effect of its dark money programme during the Brexit referendum has delivered for Russia a heavy blow to European unity, creating at least the possibility of an exploitable weakness. It is unimaginable Putin would not push the EU door if it failed to offer much resistance. Power – after all – abhors a vacuum.
In doing just this the people behind Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the US have successfully gamed the system, convincing us – the electorate – to give them exactly what they want – power. Yet, this is hardly a coup de monde. Where’s the network of conspirators, the common purpose, and the seeds hidden in the reveal? Big Data is a tool available to everyone who can afford to employ it, and therefore it’s reasonable to imagine the Brexit Leave campaign and Trump’s campaign team used it independently of one another.
If the details of the Brexit dark money story are proven, the outlook for the British government is dire – if not terminal. It will prove beyond doubt what an increasing number have come to suspect; that Brexit was never about returning sovereignty to the UK, but that senior members of the Conservative Party – including members of the government – have collaborated with a foreign power – Russia – to destabilise the United States and the European Union and assisted in a project of recalibrating the international geopolitical balance of power in Russia’s favour.
By 2014 the Russian money was in play, ready to play its part in the total subversion of British and possibly US democracy. We have two people in Britain linked to the game plan; the money launderer Richard Cook and the then Prime Minister David Cameron, who intervened in Cook’s general election campaign in East Renfrewshire in Scotland – selling him as the Tory environmental option – and who put the EU referendum on the table [exit Mr Cameron, stage left].
Leadership in the west is in crisis. Post-Brexit the European Union will be faced with the necessity of further political integration and the internal resistance this will inevitably provoke. It may be decades before the EU is in a position again to move from consolidation to expansion. Brexit has put a significant dent in British soft power. The increasing isolation of London will push it closer to the point of becoming a US satellite, making it ever more likely to follow US hard power policies.