Today all of us in Britain wake up to the news that Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States has given classified information regarding ISIS and allied intelligence sources within it to the Russian foreign minister at a meeting in the Oval Office. I’m sure many people will wonder what this has to do with us in the UK. After all several times a week we hear of some bizarre piece of news from the White House so one might ask why does this affect us more than all the other shambles emanating from the Trump administration?
The fact is Trump’s actions in this case have put innocent lives in jeopardy, perhaps even in the UK. According to the Washington Post story he told the Russians: “how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances… Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.” That agent under the control of an American ally that could possibly be the UK, is probably dead by now. The Russians although they have their own issues with Isis, would have no qualms leaking this info to them as long as no Russian lives were at threat in order to undermine the intelligence alliance in the West. Indeed both Russia and its ally, the Assad regime in Syria have been accused of aiding the Islamic State as much as they fight it, depending on the circumstances. For Putin’s Russia, the West will always be the primary enemy and any chance of weakening Western intelligence cooperation will be a chance not to be passed up on.
If as likely, Isis are informed, they will not only know how to alter the current plan they are working on to make it successful (doing so might be as simple as simply switching the city it’s targeting) and will be able to continue working on both this plot (knowing how much it frightened the West in the first place) and other ones without being watched. Future Western information on ISIS and their plots will be much diminished due to this blabbermouth in the Oval Office (literally in the Oval Office, as that’s where he told the Russian Foreign minister this information!).
Trump is a simple man in a complicated age. That’s part of why he was as popular as he offered simple inviting answers to complex and difficult questions. His simplicity isn’t that of a lack of ostentation (his luxurious lifestyle shows that), but of a simple mind, with a simple worldview and simple primal urges. This is why he blurted out highly classified information that might lead to the deaths of many innocent people in Western countries; he either didn’t have the wherewithal to know how dangerous the things he was revealing were, or he just didn’t care. For us in Europe, it seems the Trump administration has been a case in vicarious schadenfreude aside the odd fear of war in Asia or the Middle East that in any case seems so distant that it doesn’t affect us directly. But for all the amusement gained from Sean Spicer hiding from reporters in the bushes around the White House or the such like, the fact remains that Trump’s negligence or duplicity might impact closer to home than we would have previously have thought in the most terrible of ways.