For all of the bombastic huffing and puffing that comes out of their mouths, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have demonstrated that they’re not nearly as willing to match their words with actual deeds. Putin takes vicious action, but it’s limited an calculated. Trump rarely does anything beyond barking. But now Putin has blown it, because he did something evil that went much further than he intended – and it’s Trump who is about to pay the price.
Putin has never hesitated to have his political enemies and liabilities killed off. But if you look carefully at his victims, he always limits himself to killing off Russian nationals, even if he sometimes kills them in foreign nations. It’s a way of limiting his liability. When he recently had a Russian spy poisoned in the UK, he was making the calculated gamble that the UK government wouldn’t push things to the brink over the murder of a mere Russian spook. But the poison ended up spreading to the surrounding area, making several British nationals sick.
That made it a state sponsored terrorist attack against British citizens on British soil. Even though Prime Minister Theresa May is in an incredibly weak political position right now, she’s nonetheless taking a fairly strong stance against Russia and Putin. At the least, May’s response is orders of magnitude stronger than what Trump would do in her position.
May has given Putin a week to try to make amends, and assuming it doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance she’ll invoke NATO Article 4, if not Article 5. She’s also taking action in the United Nations. These kinds of steps all but force Donald Trump into the middle of this mess. May’s moves have prompted Trump’s own UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to speak up against Russia, in an attempt at saving her own personal credibility. This comes one day after Trump fired his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for speaking up against Russia.
So now, thanks to this poisoning of a Russian spy that unwittingly became a terrorist attack against the British people, Vladimir Putin’s status as a criminal and a murderer is suddenly being forcibly moved to the forefront of international diplomacy. Not only is this a referendum on Putin, it’s a referendum on Donald Trump’s status as Putin’s puppet. This is the very last thing Trump needs, as his Russia scandal closes in on him. This will do tangible damage to what little is left of Trump’s presidency.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report