RUSSIA, THE BRITISH MEDIA AND THE SALISBURY ATTACK
By: Michaell Lange,
London, 08/03/18 –
Last Sunday (04), Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were victims of a chemical attack in Salisbury, England. Both are critically ill in hospital. A police officer which helped when they collapsed near the restaurant they were in, was also hospitalised, but thought to be now, out of danger.
Last Sunday’s attack reminds us of a similar case when another double Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned at a hotel in London in 2006, which investigators concluded it most probably had been carried out with the approval of the Kremlin.
Soon after the identity of the victims of this attack became public, the media jumped at the speculation that it was just another case of state style assassination. Both Alexander Litvinenko killed in 2006, and Sergei Skripal, now fighting for his life after Sundays chemical attack, were accused by the Kremlin to have passed information to the British Secret Service, the MI6. Although, the agents always denied these accusations.
It is not a surprise that the British media was quick to assume that Russia must be behind the attack. However, we also know now that Sergei was working on cyber security, which will almost certainly give more food for thoughts to the investigators. It seems the British media loves any opportunity to criticise Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. But, how much different from other states Russia’s behaviour really is?
The first thing one must understand is that we cannot analise Russia differently than the way we analise any other country. Countries behave in a way to protect and pursuit their interests. Realism thinking explains well state behaviour. States compete against each other and they never trust each other. Even within the so called Five Eyes, a group of countries made by The USA, The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, there are mistrust and competition. States always compete for power and therefore, against each other!
Russia, like any other country in the world, has the right to defend itself. However, the media appears to treat Russia in a different way as if Russians should follow a different rule from the rest of the world. The Media poses president Vladimir Putin as a bad guy who wants to invade the whole world and make Russian the world’s number one language. But, let’s be honest, to believe that Putin has the will or even the power to take on the rest of the world is nothing but a bad joke.
The state of Russia behaves just like any other country in the world. They want to stay alive, protect their interests and when possible, yes, pursuit their importance in the world stage.
Here in Britain, just a few weeks ago we were debating whether we should kill British nationals or non-nationals abroad, whenever they pose a threat to the UK. The fact is, when we identify a threat we send a drone to blow them up, and in many cases, we blow up innocent women and children together with our target. We invade other states air space to kill people we don’t like, so if Russia is doing the same we should not be surprised. Of course we are all horrified with the possibility of Russian agents killing people on the streets of Britain. It’s totally unacceptable! But, this is just the way International Relations works. Diplomacy followed by, or together with, direct or proxy actions.
States will do whatever they need to do to defend their interests, either for instance, by arresting Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, or killing, using secret service agents and drones. Dr kelly’s death still causing questions as wether he killed himself or was assassinated for exposing the truth about Iraq weapons of mass destruction.
If Russia is found to be behind this attack, we must respond with actions such as visa restrictions, and possibly banning Russians from buying property, companies or invest in the UK, though it is very unlikely since conservatives receive hundreds of millions of Pounds in Russians donation.
Although, so far we know very little about last weekend attack in Salisbury, most of us would agree that there is a high probability that Russia could well be behind this attack. Nevertheless, no matter how unacceptable this behaviour might be, we should not judge Russia’s behaviour any differently than the way we judge ourselves. All we know so far is that Sergei is a former Russian spy and was victim of a chemical attack. Anything beyond that is pure and simple opportunistic speculation.