There are many angles to the revelations surrounding Mike Flynn’s guilty plea, in respect of lying to the FBI about his conversations with the former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
One is that far from Russia trying to influence US policy, it was in fact Israel that tried to influence the policy of many nations and ultimately the UN itself.
Interestingly, rather than trying to lobby multiple-nations directly, Israel used members of the then incoming Trump administration to do its lobbying for them.
In this sense Mike Flynn and almost certainly Jared Kushner, were acting as Israel lobbyists not just in the US but among many nations of the world.
As someone who is 100% pro-Palestine, I am all too aware that some Russian patriots, supporters of Russia and friends of Russia, struggle to come to grips with how much Russian policy on Israel has changed since the Soviet period.
Many remember how in 1975, the Soviet Union and its allies helped pass United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 which condemned Zionism as a form of racism.
This resolution was later rescinded in 1991 via United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/86. The Soviet Union’s support of Resolution 46/86 made it clear that Moscow’s position vis-a-vis Tel Aviv had shifted even in the months before the end of the USSR.
Today, Russia and Israel are economic and diplomatic partners. Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu enjoy a close relationship which is far more friendly than that which Putin has enjoyed with any US President and most European heads of state.
This is not to negate Russia’s historic support of Arab nationalism and the wider Muslim world.
Russia remains a steadfast ally of Syria, is re-starting once incredibly close relations with Egypt, has built historically good ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia, and has a far better record of supporting Islam within Russia than many European countries have in respect of their Muslim populations.
For Putin’s Russia, good relations among rival nations is not a zero-sum game. That is why Russia supports Palestine while maintaining close ties to Tel Aviv.
It explains why Russia is building new ties to Saudi Arabia but not at the expense of its Iranian partner.
It further explains why far from the Muslim world, Russia is building ties with South Korea while maintaining a better relationship with North Korea than any major power.
It also explains why Russia will never abandon its most important international partner, China, while leaving the door open to good relations with the US, even though Washington has firmly shut that door.
Through all of this, Russia continually supports Palestine at the UN. Indeed, in his speech made this September at the UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decried the fact that so little progress has been made on securing justice for Palestine.
Because of this, Benjamin Netanyahu will have know in advance that Russia’s vote in favour of UN United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning the building of illegal settlements in Palestine was going to be automatic.
So the country that influenced US policy through Michael Flynn is Israel, not Russia. But Flynn did try to influence Russia, not the other way around. Ha-ha. This is the smoking gun? What a farce. https://t.co/VLw3wOLCCG pic.twitter.com/cZ3JBUxd4s
— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) December 1, 2017
For all anyone knows, Israeli officials made their views known to Russian diplomats as is standard during the prelude to such votes.
But if Israel was assured that Russia would support the Palestinian position at the UN, why has information come out showing that Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked members of Donald Trump’s team, first and foremost almost certainly Jared Kushner, to ask Mike Flynn to lobby countries, including Russia, to either delay the vote on UNSC Resolution 2334 or otherwise block the resolution?
The answer is that Israel clearly puts its agenda above protocol and loyalty to allies and I’m not saying this as a value judgement. The facts speak for themselves.
But the point remains that Israel used the Trump team as a go-between in respect of Israel-Russia relations when such a thing was not only unnecessary and easily foreseeable as useless, but was also subtly insulting to Russia.
Adding insult to injury (or is it the other way around?), Flynn and Kushner dutifully followed Israel’s orders, not even stopping to think that if Israel, a partner of Russia, cannot change Russia’s mind, how can a US which was then and which remains now openly hostile to Russia, do so?
Clearly, Israel is underestimating its own position vis-a-vis Russia while overestimating the power of the US to meddle in Russia’s foreign policy.
On top of this, Flynn and Kushner have overestimated the ability of their own country to meddle in Russia’s foreign policy.
If the US is having trouble bullying Sudan into changing its foreign policy, how could it possibly coerce the Russian superpower into doing so?
Indeed, Vladimir Putin has often said, how could Russia possibly successfully meddle in the affairs of the US superpower, even if Russia wanted to?
Putin once rhetorically asked if the mighty US is really a “banana republic” that can be easily manipulated. While the US can be easily manipulated by Israel as the facts clearly show, no other country has had this kind of success in this area.
All of this is scandalous to be sure.
The greatest irony is that of all the countries involved in the Israel-Flynn-Kushner triangle, the only state whose diplomats never interfered in policy making of another nation is Russia.
Russia did not tell the US, Israel or anyone else what to do. It simply did what anyone with a brain, knew it would always do: vote for the Palestinian position at the United Nations.