British mainstream media has a fake news meltdown over remarks Donald Trump made in an interview with the Rupert Murdoch owned Times at the weekend. The interview focused more on Brexit, China and the EU than it did on Russia, but when Trump did talk about Russia, his simple and totally non-surprising statement was blown entirely out of proportion.
In the interview, Trump said:
“They have sanctions on Russia – let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it. Russia’s hurting very badly right now because of sanctions but I think something can happen that a lot of people are going to benefit”.
The western mainstream media, particularly in Britain, reported that Trump had suddenly become unfriendly with Russia and that specifically he asked for a trade-off: Russia reduces nukes, America will reduce sanctions.
Trump spoke in the broadest sense of the need to reduce nuclear weapons and taken in context with his previously stated desires to resume a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with Russia, Trump is not making a tit-for-tat offer to Russia, he is merely saying that the world’s nuclear arsenals ought to be reduced which in practice has historically meant Washington and Moscow cooperate over the issue. This was famously the case with Brezhnev and Nixon, two leaders who got on a hell of a lot better than Obama and Putin.
In the interview Trump reiterated the fact that President Putin ought to be approached with trust and good will, again nothing new. The way that so many publications from the Guardian, Independent and The Times itself distorted Trump’s words, is testament to the fact that once respected outlets have become little more than fake news. All that varies is the degree of the insincerity.
The only thing false about Donald Trump’s statement is that Russia is hurting badly due to the sanctions. This is patently untrue. European exporters on the other hand, have taken a hit. Ultimately though, a businessman like Trump has to paint a picture that lifting sanctions will improve things for Russia, it makes Trump’s portfolio of peace options look stronger. Again nothing exotic or abnormal here.
We’ve got to a state where Russia is ready and willing to welcome a US administration led by a President who seems open to talking. Trump for his part wants to reduce weapons, seemingly on all sides, is open to lifting sanctions and wants to cooperate against radical Islamic terrorism. These things which are objectively positive are being spun by a fake stream media, ill at ease with the concept that events are moving at a speed with which they cannot keep up. No wonder their readership have largely moved on.