Spies, murder and the danger of misinformation

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Contributor Ashton Nanninga reflects on the increasing tensions between Russia and the United States.

Ashton Nanninga

Misinformation spreads like wildfire and politics are fuel to the flame.

Throughout President Donald Trump’s time in office, the United States’ relations with Russia have become increasingly tense. These tensions have now escalated to a global scale.

On March 4, former Russian informant for Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. The attack took place in Salisbury, Wilts, England.

As stated in a New York Times article Britain Blames Moscow for Poisoning of Former Russian Spy by Ellen Barry and Richard Perez-Pena, Prime Minister Theresa May blames the act on Russia. May stated that the nerve agent was “a type developed in Russia.” She then goes on saying that it was an act of the Kremlin and Russia is to blame.

On March 29, Russia further escalated the situation by ordering the closure of the American consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city. Antonio Gueterres, secretary general of the United Nations, compared the crisis to that of the Cold War.

Russia, the United States and Britain are now having a pissing contest to see who can be the stronger nation. Russia and the U.S. alike have ordered the expulsion of diplomats from their countries. The Kremlin described the ordeal as an entirely anti-Russian campaign orchestrated by Washington and London.

This crisis has really emphasized Russia’s relations with the world, especially the U.S. As we have seen throughout this presidential term, Trump has been lax on criticizing Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Trump didn’t even comment on the global issue.

As we all have witnessed through many media outlets, Trump has had this negligent relationship with Russia since his election into office. But does this recent issue now strengthen the world’s nations against Russia?

Twenty-seven countries including the United States have announced the expulsion of more than 150 diplomats. Russia has mirrored this response through the expulsion of foreign politicians and their closing of the American consulate.

Through the aftermath of this issue, Skripal and his daughter remain alive and are recovering. Yulia was discharged from the hospital according to the United Kingdom newspaper, The Sun.

But what will be done besides sending diplomats back to their home countries? Overall, there is no clear evidence as to what happened on March 4. No country has factual evidence as to who is to blame. Countries can point fingers all they want, but that is not hard proof.

According to another New York Times article Expelling Diplomats, a Furious Kremlin Escalates a Crisis by Andrew Higgins, Russia has called a meeting of the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical weapons to “establish the truth” of the “so-called Skripal case.”

Even insinuating that this case should not be taken seriously by labeling it as “so-called” really highlights the immaturity Russia is taking with this issue. The same goes for Britain as May called out Russia with no basis for her claims. And the U.S. hardly has any stake in the issue either due to Trump’s overly receptive response to Russian relations.

The public has been kept in the dark far too long on several political issues involving Russian-U.S. relations. It is time to reveal what is kept behind the political curtain. Action needs to be taken in order for nations to coexist in a somewhat peaceful manner.