Jeremy Hunt wants to emulate Trump

Jeremy Hunt wants to emulate Trump
Britain’s top diplomat wants the EU to emulate Trump’s method of dealing with Russia. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary style of government. The head of state is the reigning Monarch while the head of Government is the Prime Minister. Theresa May...

Britain’s top diplomat wants the EU to emulate Trump’s method of dealing with Russia.

Background

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary style of government. The head of state is the reigning Monarch while the head of Government is the Prime Minister. Theresa May has been the PM since 2016 and Jeremy Hunt is the recently appointed Foreign Secretary, replacing Boris Johnson.

In March 2018, Sergei Skripal former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK's intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury, England, with a Novichok nerve agent, according to official UK sources and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

President Trump has issued stringent sanctions on Russia in response to these attacks, condemning the Russian Military Agency responsible.

Read more on our extensive analysis of the Skripal case and the Sanctions on Russia here, here and here.

Analysis

Britain’s top diplomat praised President Trump for increasingly strong sanctions against Russia and called on Europeans to match his efforts, whether in response to a nerve agent attack in England last spring, election interference or the annexation of Crimea.

Russia’s “aggressive and malign behavior undermines the international order that keeps us safe,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday in a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “Of course, we must engage with Moscow, but we must also be blunt. Russia’s foreign policy under President [Vladimir] Putin has made the world a more dangerous place.”

Trump has a “very different style of politics,” including his prolific use of social media, and has engaged in dialogue with the Russian leader, Hunt said. But “I think it’s very important to look at what he does as well as what he says.”

While Trump’s admiring outreach toward Putin has raised bipartisan concerns in this country, Hunt’s assessment echoes the administration’s own emphasis on deeds rather than words.

It comes at a time when Britain, following passage of a 2016 referendum calling for withdrawal from the European Union, is seeking reassurance in closer trade relations with the United States.

In addition to punishment for the Salisbury attack, the Trump administration separately imposed two new sets of sanctions on Tuesday against Russian companies related to North Korea and to Russian intelligence.

The Treasury Department levied sanctions on two companies based in Vladivostok for using their Russia-flagged ships to conduct ship-to-ship transfers of oil to ships bound for North Korea. Such ship-to-ship transfers are prohibited under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Treasury Department also targeted two companies that supplied underwater diving equipment to Russian government agencies, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), which has been under sanctions since 2016.

Meanwhile, Sigal P. Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told Congress that U.S. sanctions against Russia overall have had a significant impact on the Russian economy and blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian assets in the United States.

The British call to continue and increase sanctions against Russia came a day after the software giant Microsoft uncovered fresh attempts by Russian hackers.

The Russian military intelligence agency, created two fake websites to mimic two conservative Washington think tanks, the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute.

Mitchell, in the diplomat’s congressional testimony, withheld endorsement of a new sanctions legislation package, called the Deter Act, that would impose new penalties if the director of national intelligence uncovered Russian efforts to interfere in future U.S. elections.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the UK is trying to standardise the differing approaches of the US and EU on dealing with President Putin. The EU, aware of its dependence on Russian oil and natural gas, is being deliberately being cautious in its approach with Russia. The US, on the other hand, is using the recent developments to distract from any qualms of collusion with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Elections and therefore, is targeting strategic economic resources of Russia. We feel that the UK may have to form a path of its own if the EU does not adopt the present American model of dealing with Russia.   

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