In March of last year two Russians, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, traveled to Salisbury, England, ostensibly as tourists. They were thwarted from their tourism goal of visiting that city’s famous cathedral, they claim, by the snows. I remember those snows and, as I live eight miles from the cathedral in question, I can attest that the snows would have been a joke in New Jersey (my previous residence) let alone in Russia, and the idea that it stopped them from doing anything is risible.
Nevertheless these two “tourists,” as Vladimir Putin later insisted they were, but who, as it turns out were officers in the GRU, unleashed the deadly binary nerve agent known as “novichok” for the purposes of murdering a local Salisbury resident and defector from Putin’s Russia.
This anecdote is brought to you courtesy of just how things actually happen in the paranoid micromanaging world of Putin’s Russia, or Duterte’s Philippines for that matter, or Kim’s North Korea while we’re on the topic, and the tepid accountability they are held to in Trump’s America. In North Korea, to continue with that example, one does not so much as sneeze without the “Dear Leader’s” permission.
So the notion that Kim Jong Un didn’t know about the brutal treatment of American student Otto Warmbier at the hands of his barbaric henchmen, Warmbier’s seventeen month captivity and his return to America in a coma from which he later died, that he in fact felt, in the words of Donald Trump, “badly about it,” would be laughable were it not so tragic. Trump has been on the job long enough to know how these people work, and he ought to know that when they claim they didn’t know about monstrosities that go on in their regimes, they are lying.
Once again Donald Trump does what he does best. He has failed. He has failed the American people, he has failed the parents of Otto Warmbier, he has failed the men and women Kim is torturing and murdering today, all in deference to a savage dictator whom Trump loves and admires. This is what America has sunk to at the hands of a fool like Donald Trump, the idolatry of evil and the meek assurance that Kim is not doing what is obvious to the rest of us. Kim is lying, Donald, and you are too starstruck and stupid to notice.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.