There is every reason to assume Russia ‘undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum (paragraph 41),’ but then, thanks to Joe Pike’s tell-all exposé of Project Fear, we know the British government was interfering in Scotland’s democracy. It may not always be comforting to think about it, but Scotland was a pawn in a bigger game in 2014 and the outcome of our referendum was going to have far-reaching consequences for the global balance of power.
How does a community function when it is ghettoised and bricked off? It doesn’t. The limited supply of essentials means that prices will rise, black markets will sprout out of the woodwork, and the normal operation of society rapidly deteriorates. The British government has already drawn up plans for emergency policing and the use of the armed forces to distribute food. The army doesn’t come on to the street to manage soup kitchens and hand out tins of Spam. The army hits the street to maintain or re-establish order, and this is exactly why the army will be manning the breadlines.
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.
When “the most powerful man in the world” is routinely snubbed, laughed at, and dismissed by leaders of small nations the likes of Scotland, there can be no argument the US’ soft power – the only power the US can really use when dealing with friends and allies – has taken a serious hit. If Donald were a mafia don this treatment is il bacio della morte – the kiss of death, the sign by which a member of the family has been marked for assassinio. For the purposes of international relations, the man Donald Trump sleeps with the fishes and everyone knows it.
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.
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.
Theresa May has laid down an ultimatum, the date of which has now expired, and the Russians are laughing in her face. In international politics this is never a good thing. She and her resident jester Johnson now need to come good on their threats, and, while it is clear Europe will have nothing to do with this idiotic standoff, no one knows if the Americans will now actually back them up. In the end Britain is left looking more isolated and vulnerable than it was yesterday, and that too is never a good thing in international politics.