Russia needs Donald Trump to divide Atlantic Alliance

Harlan Ullman, Arnaud de Borchgrave Distinguished Columnist
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on February 20. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on February 20. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

Worried about Russian interference in Western politics? Consider what a memo on this topic to President Vladimir Putin from his intelligence apparatus might reveal:

Mr. President: Part of your strategy has been to divide the West, thereby weakening and unraveling NATO. Regarding the West, Britain and America, the two greatest democracies of the 20th century, are careening toward separate roads to ruin. It is in our obvious interest to encourage if not accelerate these forces. Indeed, this is the "wedge" issue that we recommend exploiting with even more intensity to hasten further divisions.


In the United Kingdom, the 2016 Brexit referendum has now rendered Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative Party impotent and the country, barring a reverse Dunkirk-like miracle, without any seemingly viable options for leaving the European Union. Meanwhile, the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become toxic over charges of anti-Semitism.

In essence, the United Kingdom is leaderless. Without a solution to Brexit, whether through delay or referendum, Britain is becoming a second- or even third-rate power. And a British withdrawal from the EU will shake the foundations of the Atlantic Alliance. It will also do great damage to its economy.

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In America, after Donald Trump's hostile takeover, the Republican Party now rejects fiscal conservatism at home and active engagement abroad. Emboldened by winning back the House of Representatives and refreshed with a new crop of young politicians, Democrats are swerving dramatically left with plans for Green New Deals and medical care and education for all that are unaffordable no matter how much the super rich are taxed. President Trump will use the "socialist" bogeyman to brand all Democrats as such and with that slogan win the 2020 presidential election.

If Republicans especially in Congress cannot grow spines and recapture the party -- which they will not, on the current trajectory, Trumpism will only diminish American influence and credibility abroad. The $22 trillion swelling debt; a trade war with China; an arms race with us; and climate change are time bombs waiting to explode over America.

Clearly, with Trump and Brexit, the Atlantic Alliance that maintained the peace for 70 years could dissipate, following the same fate as SEATO, METO, CENTO and the Warsaw Pact. We must accelerate these outcomes.

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The one unknown is special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in their elections. Your direction was to make Mr. Trump the "useful idiot" whose naïveté and political inexperience would serve as a cover for our interference and the reason for Mr. Mueller to excuse whatever illegalities might be discovered as presidential lapses in judgment.


This is what happened to Ronald Reagan and the Tower Commission investigation of the Iran-Contra Affair in which the administration repeatedly broke several laws in trading arms for hostages in Iran to resupply the Contras fighting in Nicaragua. We believe that sufficient false flags have been planted to encourage similar conclusions forgiving this president. Of course the president's family is at risk. However, ignorance of the law surely will temper criminal action and presidential pardons are readily available.

We recommend the following courses of action. With regard to the United Kingdom, active measures should be expedited to produce a second Brexit referendum. As you know, in the first referendum, our social media concentrated on persuading nearly a million Britons who had not been contacted by either side of the issue to vote to leave. We need to persuade Britons to reaffirm that vote.

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Given a deadlocked Parliament, such a vote will force a hard Brexit with disastrous consequences. We also should encourage more MPs to abandon their parties. Spreading disinformation to confirm the anti-Semitism activities of Labor will help.

In America, we need Trump. And a weakened Trump is even better. Discrediting the Mueller report, no matter what its findings, is essential. Active measures to reinforce the extreme views of Sen. Bernie Sanders and this young firebrand from New York, A. Ocasio-Cortez are underway. We must divide American opinion further between the extreme left and Mr. Trump to allow his "socialist" smear to work.


Our access to American social media is now unprecedented. As we did in influencing Brexit, we tricked some 80,000 American voters in three key states to support Mr. Trump. Now, we need to ensure a Democrat from the far left is competitive. Barring any unforeseen intervention, we believe Trump will win both the popular and electoral vote by considerable margins. With that done, as you discussed at Helsinki, NATO is the next target.

Harlan Ullman is senior adviser at Washington, D.C.'s Atlantic Council. His latest book is "Anatomy of Failure: Why America Has Lost Every War It Starts." Follow him @harlankullman.

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