The Western press is preoccupied with demon Russia. We’re told that Russia through its tool, WikiLeaks, cost Hillary Clinton the election; that Russia hacked U.S. servers, effectively installing Donald Trump as president; that Russia is blackmailing Trump over sex scandals and secret business dealings; that Trump isn’t releasing his tax returns because they show Russian income; that Russia is intent on destabilizing the democracies in Europe as well as America, in fact, democracies everywhere; that Russia and its evil allies, Iran and Syria, are mortal foes of the West; that Putin wants to reassemble the Soviet Empire; that Putin is playing Trump for a fool; in short, that Russia is an unreconstructed enemy of the U.S. that must be kept always at arm’s length.
Some of that conjecture, perhaps, may even be true. What isn’t conjecture is that there is now a dramatic warming of ties, a mutual respect and a military alliance between Russia and America not seen in decades.
To the jaw-dropping surprise of many, American troops are today fighting in Syria, in common cause and in co-ordination with Russia. The thaw in relations between the military superpowers began almost immediately after Trump’s inauguration, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who had been honoured by Putin with Russia’s Order of Friendship — meeting his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bonn on Feb. 16. “Tillerson confirms U.S ready to solve its problems with Russia — Lavrov,” read the headline from Tass, the Russian news agency. “We reiterated that we have common, coinciding interests, first of all, in what concerns resolute struggle against terrorism,” said a hopeful Lavrov, who lamented that relations between Russia and the U.S. “were seriously undermined by the Obama administration.”