The British government believes that Russia was behind the attempted murder and poisoning of a former spy Sergei Skripal with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury last week. Why is Trump waiting to express his outrage and publicly support the UK?
We all have heard about the special relationship between Britain and the UK. American presidents through history have been very vocal in claiming a strong relationship with the British ally, but when a Novichok nerve attack happened in Salisbury last week, there were no statements and breaking news headlines coming from the Oval Office.
The British PM, Theresa May said on Monday in the House of Commons that it was either Russia using Novichok nerve agent themselves or that it had given its weapons to a third party to murder a British citizen; the latter being highly unlikely, given the nature of this weapon. The nerve agent, an ultra-fine powder, is identified as the part of the Novichok group that agents developed during the 1970s and ‘80s by the Soviet military. The Novichok nerve agent can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested and it causes cardiac arrest.
Moscow was quick to deny its responsibility, calling May’s statement “another political information campaign based on a provocation”. The spokeswoman Zakharova had harsh words for Westminster, calling it a “circus show in the British parliament”.
The UK will decide on Wednesday its course of action in response to the nerve agent attack; until then, Russia is given that deadline to explain its actions.
Rex Tillerson is outraged about a Novichok nerve agent attack, what about Trump?
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday evening upstaged Trump by issuing the following statement: “We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week.”
The State Department stated that there is no justification for the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation. “We are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior. From Ukraine to Syria – and now the UK – Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.”
What is Trump waiting for to stand in solidarity with the UK?
At the Monday press briefing that lasted only 19 minutes, Press Secretary Sanders said that “the use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible.”
While Sanders was right that the attack was reckless, it defacto was not indiscriminate as the victims were discriminately targeted.
Words of condemnation we still have to hear from Trump who is widely known to be reluctant to publicly criticize Putin. This time, will he have the choice not to?