Elizabeth Jones, UKIP NEC member and UKIP Lambeth chairwoman, comments about the meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. It is the first personal meeting of the two leaders.
According to reports from Hamburg Russian president Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump discussed on Friday the situation in Ukraine and Syria, the fight against terrorism and cybersecurity. Generally it was a long conversation with lots of issues.
The issue of cybersecurity is a problem of neither party’s making. Trump must be seen to be patriotic about US election meddling which lies at much of the heart of this meeting. I am not convinced there was any damaging meddling – just an alleged hack of Democratic voters’ emails which hardly compares to the alleged North Korean NHS IT hack in the UK. Russia has been warned not to meddle in the German elections and there is an assumption now that Russia has meddled in every major election! Putin favoured Le Pen in France and yet she failed to win. This is a diversion disrupting the good relationship between the two great superpowers.
Both have recently got involved in backing opposing participants in both the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts. Syria especially yields a kaleidoscope of actors – Turkey is anti-Kurd, USA supports the Kurds. Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are Shia and support the Assad Alawites – an offshoot of Shia faith. Qatar and Saudi Arabia give tacit support to Sunni Islamic State who are both age-old allies of US and UK. Thus no path can be steered without contradiction. Further, there is uncertainty in the Caucasus which is home to many Islamic State fighters, as many as in Raqqa, thus Russia has to have a sophisticated strategy of alliances.
Western Ukraine is more ethnically Ukrainian whereas Eastern Ukraine is more Moscow-oriented and coupled with appalling corruption and degradation of governance the issue will be hugely complex especially as Russia enjoyed very friendly docking rights in Crimea. It was unfair of the EU, NATO and the UK to pretend that a declaration of military action would be made to save Ukraine. This is not 1939 Poland and UK simply does not have the will or resources to engage.
In terms of the international dialog with Russia, the current conflict architecture does not work. Both knots need to be unravelled. Nothing can work whilst the current allegiances remain as they cause asymmetry and distort each other’s position. It needs to be revisited. Assad has ruled Syria with an iron fist quite successfully and we have seen how removal of the strong leader without a cast-iron replacement has failed. Why bother to remove Assad?
Trump did give a very misleading message by bombing Syria over an alleged chemical attack and no one really knows why he did it. Russia has a big stake in the Syrian conflict as a result of her recent military engagement and will be a leading peace broker.
Trump needs to get off his high horse over Assad. The world has been littered with harsh dictators since the dawn of time and a huge mess has been caused by trying to overthrow him to date.
Peace talks must start on the premise that there will be no regime change in Damascus. Peace first then democratic evolution may unfold. Give Assad and Russia peace of mind and enable Trump and Putin to talk freely because at the moment they are stuck in a Catch 22 with all actors around them in opposition. Redraw the negotiation map and an agreement will emerge in hours.
Trump’s speech to Poland warned Russia about aggression in Ukraine and of not toeing the line in Syria. It was a good idea of Trump to visit Poland first and reassure them over their long held anxieties over Russia, but again it gives a very confusing message in light of his election pledges against military adventurism.
The meeting was significant for sure. It built rapport and should lead to a redrafting of the geopolitical script otherwise conflict in these regions will be perpetuated forever. Thought must be given to where IS fighters will end up when Raqqa falls and they can no longer wave their black and white flag. They are likely to disperse, going underground, engaging in IED bombings and mass murder and decisive military action with Assad may be needed to lance that boil.
This meeting could lead to a Reagan/Gorbachev style renaissance between these two great nations.
The UK has consistently made the wrong call. We have belittled Trump on domestic US climate change issue whilst our own government urged its citizens to take up diesel engines now proven to be major polluters. We need to focus on getting the best Brexit deal and stop lecturing Trump, stop being cowed by our aggressive Far-Left and fix a state visit for him.
It is a splendid thing that we are not involved in these talks as I fear it would lead our more excitable politicos such as Boris Johnson to drag us into yet more absurd Blairite liberal interventionism. God knows how many civilians have died as a result. Further it subjugated other policies such as trade with the Commonwealth and caused us to hitch our wagon to the EU .
We need to look at ourselves and stop printing money for foreign aid, and beef up our military.
If only we could partake in a second golden age of Thatcher, Reagan and Gorbachev but alas we lack a Thatcher stalwart!