The Jury Talks Back


Theresa May Hits Russia for Attempted Murder on British Soil — All Eyes Now on Trump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Looks like Theresa May is done “working through the details” (to quote Sarah Sanders) of who was responsible for an attempted assassination on U.S. soil. The culprit? One Vladimir Putin — and there are going to be (minor) consequences:

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced punitive measures against Russia on Wednesday over the chemical weapon attack on Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Speaking on the floor of the British Parliament, May said Russia had provided “no credible explanation” as to how the powerful Novichok chemical nerve agent came to be used in Britain, saying, “instead they have treated the use of a military grade chemical agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt.”

She said it was part of a “well established pattern” of Russian actions and that she and her cabinet had “agreed immediate actions to dismantle Russian espionage operations in the U.K.” — Britain was formally expelling 23 Russian diplomats who were identified as “undeclared” intelligence agents.

. . . .

May said Britain would not cut all diplomatic contact with Russia, but it would curtail “all planned high level bilateral contacts,” including revoking an invite to Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov. In addition, she said no members of the royal family or the cabinet would attend the soccer World Cup this summer in Russia.

Although Donald Trump did not go as far as Rex Tillerson in recent days to put the blame squarely on the Russian government, he did express support to May in a phone call. Now that May has pointed the finger directly at Putin’s Russia, the world looks to Trump to see how he will respond.

Generic “we stand with our British allies” statements are all well and good and to be expected. And nobody is expecting us to expel diplomats. The real question is: will Trump actually stand up in public and unequivocally say Putin was responsible for this attack?

I’m going to go out on a small limb and say no. Based on his past attitude towards Putin, we won’t be seeing Trump issuing a clear statement of blame. At best, we’ll get the usual Delphic word-salad pronouncement that will be open to interpretation.

And what Trump says is really all that matters, as Garry Kasparov explains:

I predict that, by the end of the day, many of those who called for Trump to stand shoulder to shoulder with May will explain that this is really England’s problem, and that of course Trump shouldn’t directly accuse Putin. He doesn’t have the evidence that England has! It’s bad for diplomacy! Yada yada. I can already hear it.

I’d love to be proved wrong. I don’t think I will be.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


  1. Russian diplomats have died on U.S. soil and we wanted to find out and disclose why. Trump should care about the deaths in Britain when they happen under suspicious circumstances.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/14/2018 @ 9:47 am

  2. The reason everyone should care is that the deaths/attacks come in Western nations by foreign agents of countries that are not our friends. We used to care about Us vs Them when Them was other countries that weren’t our friends. Now Us vs Them means Trump vs Anyone Who Criticizes Trump.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/14/2018 @ 12:05 pm

  3. The Nikki Haley and the White House Press Secretary agree Russia is to blame for this “abhorrent attack.” Does Trump?

    Comment by DRJ — 3/14/2018 @ 5:47 pm

  4. As an aside, I wonder if Trump would do better with a largely female Cabinet. My guess is they would be less threatening and/or more flattering to him.

    As long as they are pretty. No Fiorinas for Trump.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/14/2018 @ 9:00 pm

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