Just to be clear – it is not unusual for heads of state to meet. It is not unusual for leaders with different values or interests to discuss international politics. It’s the entire point of diplomacy.
The media at large appear to have forgotten this – giving thousands of column inches to insane ramblings employing words such as “traitor”, “treason”, “puppet” and “surrender”. Words which are rapidly losing their meaning.
Politico Magazine described the alleged Russian hacking as “our Pearl Harbor”, and demanded America “respond accordingly”. The author – a retired General in the US Army – is delightfully vague about what exactly that would entail.
The Guardian has over 13 stories – including half a dozen opinion pieces. Each more absurd than the last. Richard Wolffe does nothing but abuse both men between baseless accusation and the repitition of long-debunked nonsense. Whilst Peter Daou – a former employee of Hillary Clinton’s campaign – writes that Republican who still support Trump are “following him off a cliff to treachery”.
The Independent ran with “Vladimir Putin just humiliated Donald Trump. And Trump humiliated America”, a headline which belies the content of article somewhat, by far one of the most reasonable takes on either side of the Atlantic.
NewsWeek asks: “Did Trump Commit Treason at Putin Summit?”, before concluding -sensibly enough – that no, he probably didn’t.
CNN – predictably – went full CNN. Accusing Putin and Trump of “pulling the West apart”.
It wasn’t just print and digital media whipping up this storm. Social Media likewise worked itself into a frenzy – the Liberal twitterati working their followers up into lather not seen since the final scene of Frankenstein.
John McCain called it the most “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”. John Brennan – ex-CIA head – called it “nothing short of treasonous”. Even Bernie Sanders – the man who was cheated of the Democratic nomination by DNC election rigging – got in on the act – calling it a “good day for Putin and a bad day for democracy”. In this way, Trump and Putin have done stirling work in exposing that – deep down – America’s politcal class is entirely homogenous. Neocons and “socialists” united in fighting an eternal war against an invented enemy.
The worst tweet on this subject – or perhaps any subject – must have been from Garry Kasparov:
I'm ready to call this the darkest hour in the history of the American presidency. Let me know if you can think of any competition.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) 16 July 2018
Nowhere in the media was coverage given to ANY facet of this meeting other than the fictional “collusion”. We don’t know if sanctions, Syria, Ukraine, Korea, Iran or Nordstream 2 were discussed – and what may have been said about each, if they were. Even the collusion was only really covered in general, rather than specific. Very few column inches given over to – even less real engagement with – Putin’s offer to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, if the US reciprocated with Russia’s investigation into Bill Browder’s business associates, and possible tax crimes.
Important questions, then:
What else was discussed by Putin and Trump? Syria, Ukraine or Iran?
Why has no coverage been given to that? Is there nothing to say, or is something being hidden behind a smokescreen?
Will Mueller accept Putin’s invitation to question the indicted Russians in Russia?
What excuse will be used when Mueller inevitably turns this offer down?
Why is the entire media machine turning against the Helsinki summit?
Is it just about the need to keep Russia as an enemy to justify increased NATO defence budgets?
Where do we go from here?