London (GPA) – In a significant foreign policy speech last night, UK Prime Minister Theresa May decided to use the opportunity to continue peddling lies about Russia.
Last night, at the lord mayor’s banquet, Theresa May delivered the latest anti-Russian screed that seems to flow regularly from western nations now. Much like other western leaders, May’s speech contained all the usual Russophobic accusations of Moscow attempting to “subvert international order.”
According to May, “This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag, among many others.” She then went on to say these alleged ‘Russian hacks’ were part of Moscow’s broader strategy of “seeking to weaponize information,” by “Deploying its state-run media organizations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.”
Despite what US media may have you believe, May’s gesture was not so much about “getting tough on Russia” (with the implication that US President Trump isn’t) but instead about business. And what other business could the move possibly be about except for Brexit?
With one of the most complex and advanced security apparatuses in Europe, May’s speech also signaled that she would be using this fact as a bargaining chip in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. The UK is notorious for having a sizable defense budget for such a small nation, and still easily outspends the rest of their European counterparts.
Following her demonization of Russia, may almost flawlessly shifted gears into what was basically a sales pitch, saying: “The UK will remain unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.”
May went on to explain just how this commitment would carve it a role for the U.K. in Europe even after the country leaves the European Union. May said as much when she told the audience that “The comprehensive new economic partnership we seek will underpin our shared commitment to open economies and free societies in the face of those who seek to undermine them.”
With language like that as well as May’s ominous warning that Russia is “threatening the international order on which we all depend,” it’s easy to see how her fear mongering was deeply entwined with her opportunism. Several critics of May’s even said as much when they felt her lack of accusations surrounding alleged Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, a claim pushed by the U.K. establishment that backed the ‘remain’ campaign.
Russian Politicians Challenge May’s Assertions
Several Russian parliamentarians spoke following May’s comments seeking to set the record straight.
One MP, Frants Klintsevich, a deputy chairman on the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house dismissed the claims of interference outright. He also delivered some strong words to May, saying she “has done more damage to herself than to us, making a fool of herself in the eyes of the world community and once again raising Russia’s profile.”
Another MP, this time the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house, Leonid Slutsky, also denied these claims but also attempted to offer an olive branch to May, saying “Russia, like the UK, is by no means striving to bring back the Cold War. We are ready to develop a mutual dialogue and partnership relations.” Slutsky went on to say that since this is the case in Russia, that he “completely disagree[s] with the statement that Russia is allegedly trying to undermine the international system of rules.”
However, one parliamentarian, Alexei Pushkov, said what a lot of us are thinking whenever we see western leaders slamming Russia, and that is, what exactly that ‘order’ means to western nations. In Puhkov’s analysis, “The world order that suits May,” is the world order that contains “the seizure of Iraq, war in Libya, the rise of IS and terrorism in Europe.” Pushkov went on to say this order “has had its day” and “You can’t save it by attacking Russia.”
May’s speech also comes just a month before a mildly anticipated visit to Moscow by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Also published on Medium.