Archive for the ‘world affairs’ Category

The North Korea Nuclear Launch Sites are Closed – But Kim Keeps the Key

April 21, 2018

Christopher Lee

21 April 2018, London

Kim Jong-un says North Korea has developed ‘weaponisation” so from this passing weekend, North Korea will stop testing.

Nuclear weapons engineers will say this is nonsense. The job of being a nuclear weapon state has only just begun.

But for the moment at least, North Korea has reached the goal of its leader, that of a state able to put even a small nuclear warhead on a long range missile, fire that missile into outer space and then guide its return into the earth’s atmosphere, release warheads and direct each one onto targets that include the United States, certainly China and certainly Japan.

That makes North Korea a member of an exclusive club that somewhere has a technology base that can return to production and ever be in scientific and technological research state to bring the missile and the guidance and launch systems to a longer range and higher readiness, the re-entry process more reliable and the delivery systems more accurate and threatening.

President Trump should not need to be told this.

The series of North South and East-West meetings begin this coming week. North and South Korea meet openly, US-Korean officials meet quietly and then, perhaps as early as June, President Trump meets President Kim.

At that point, Kim Jong-Un achieves that which has eluded himself, his ancestors and something which is not always understood in Western capitals. President Kim has yearned for respect as a ‘proper’ leader of an important country. He reads the progress in international recognition achieved by Pakistan when it became a nuclear weapons power and immediately a state able to kill millions of its decades old enemy India at the press of half a dozen buttons.

In just a decade of fast technology he’s made the US take him seriously. Rocket Man is not a joke Trump lyric.

He may tell us that North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions are over, but like the rest of the black mushroom growers, the genii is out of the bottle. His people know how to do it and, who knows when the disappointment of international treatment and recognition will mean a return to the test sites.

And to test the value of his new position, remember that Mr Kim will be receiving Mr Trump, not the other way round. Mr Trump has to go to him. Mr Kim will step his own higher ground.

What would they want? An official end to the Korean War. That is an easy found formality. A recognition that North Korean is an equal partner in the strategic balance of the Korean Peninsular, Eastern China and Japan for starters. That is status worth having. It will also be a process that leads to the true lessening of conflict: sign a contract with a potential enemy that boosts its economy and allows the country to grow for a fat enemy rarely goes to war.

The bringing about of this summit, if it happens, will be largely the work of President Moon of South Korea with the nitty sorted by the three heads of Intelligence of America, South Korea and North Korea.

Mr Kim will get his respect and will settle some of the uncertainties of the ruling North Korean families who are saying the Mr Kim must change his ways if the country is not to fold economically and collapse. Mr Moon will sweep aside the continued feeling that he could fall at any moment. And Mr Trump?

In America, even senior politicians have never heard of any efforts other than the tough-talk of their President. If it works, he will be the man who brought 60 years of crisis to an end and made Kim Jong-un close down his nuclear threat.

The tailpiece in Washington to this is an irony: undoubtedly, if a June meeting is the type of success we imagine, then there will a strong movement for a Nobel Peace Prize. So? So there is no way the FBI could file against a Peace Nobel Laureate Trump.

Could anything spoil what is possible? Yes.

Whatever agreement between North Korea and the US, it is extremely likely that Congress will not ratify any treaty on the grounds of it being impossible to verify North Korea keeping the test sites closed.

In other words, June’s not far but there are years to go before Mission Accomplished make sense.

 

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Libya: The Forgotten War

April 20, 2018

Christopher Lee

London 20 April 2018

Libya: Yet another forgotten war

Was a time when every think tanker and foreign affairs journal spent a week telling us how to fix Libya. British forces still have a handle on Libya, but the place is no closer to a stable security platform that it was a year ago. It was the last place that Britain, France etc decided to help on its way to peace by giving it a mini-bombing. It’s still a mess. So what happened?

Firstly its state institutions — the vertebra of any nation’s stability — are corrupted and fearful of their values and inability to exercise any authority in case they have damned and worse beyond by the militias and competing military and political groups.
So many different groupings, all of which are uncompromisingly armed, fail to allow these institutions to cross fertilise and so they have little value. The first consequence of such naked corruption of power is the country run on violence, a mini economy of its own. War has its own economy and in Libya it becomes an industrial employer of corruption, exploitation of resources — including oil – and the continuing if mostly now internationally ignored lucrative mini economy of human trafficking.
In short, Libya has developed violence as a convertible economy in a society that should be living of oil dollars. Corruption as an economy in itself sets the values of most of Libya and therefore any conflict breeds further and wider spread violence.
The ultimate horror is that the economic values of corruption and violence are too powerful to resist and thus functional government has no attraction.
The reality is that Libya is a black-market where every concession has a price and the line to set that price changes hands many times.
There is of course a UN negotiator to resolve the problems of this oil state and to bring warring factions together. Ghassan Salame works at fruitless chores. The UN says the single incentive that may bring some ground rule for a stabilised state is an election. In spite of the rubble of democracy in that place, some 2.3 millions Libyans believe in elections even if the country is run by hoodlums and gangsters who keep in some form of power the two rival groups of authority. Thus an election would be fought with gunfire at the order of the two main characters in this black opera, Fayez as-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar. The libretto of change is through the emergence of a charismatic figure, in Libya’s case the son of Colonel Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. How long would he survive?
This then is the pitch and roll of Libya. It is rich and corrupt. If it ever worked as a state, it would need a vicious grip of figure who would never again sleep in the same bed every night. The Son of Gaddafi? It is an irony that one day the United Nations will have to accept and leading the praise for it would be the same people who ordered air attacks to bring down his father. In some deeper moment, the moral distinction is blurred and that corruption that is an economy of its will fail and another will take its place.
A hopeless concept? Look around the Middle East since the Arab spring and rest finally on Syria. How soon before President Assad will once more be the undisputed President. And that is the lesson of Libya, yet another forgotten war. It is a place of stenching moral high grounds – partly manured by the actions of friends who went to help and then left when it all became too difficult. A conveniently forgotten war.

Korea: A Nobel for Trump?

April 18, 2018

by

ChristopherLee

http://www.foreignpolicy.org.uk

 

For those who said a meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was straight out of the La La Land handbook of the pursuit of dreams, then maybe a re-read of the script is worth a while.

 

President Trump this morning Tweeted in his own La La manner that his CIA director Mike Pompeo was back in Washington after a trip to North Korea during Easter for a meeting with Kim Jong-un. The idea is to fix a summit meeting between Trump and Kim Jung-un, probably in June.

 

Why would the director CIA be used in this role? Answer: he is Mr Trump’s choice as his next Secretary of State, his foreign minister.

 

The published hope is to get some deal whereby the North Koreans will give up their nuclear weapons programme in return for a treaty officially ending the 1950-1953 war between North Korea supported by China and South Korea supported by a UN force led by the United States. When fighting stopped, an armistice was declared not an official end to the conflict. Under a new agreement, North Korea would expect sanctions against its economy to be lifted.

 

This sounds and is all too simple a way to resolve a 65 year-old strategic conundrum that could even now lead the world into nuclear war. A few months ago Trump and Kim Jong-un were openly insulting each other in some Mediaeval pre-war pageant. Trump was threatening to rain down fire and fury. Kim was telling the world Trump needed a brain fix. Today the two men are clearing the diaries for what would be one of the most significant political summits since Reagan met Gorbachev in 1986.

 

Given this importance, there’s more to it that time clear up a bit of history with a wrong ending and, it goes much wider than Trump doing business his way and Kim Jong-un wanted the status of an international leader with an arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is the story of three, not two ambitions. For Europeans keen to live in a world without black mushroom clouds, then the political tact of Moon Jae-in, the South Korean President should be understood.

 

Mr Moon is the person who has persuaded Kim to at least publicly murmur that getting rid of nuclear weapons is in the deck of negotiations the three leaders are now shuffling. Six months ago when North Korean were doing a missile or warhead test every couple of weeks, such language was unknown never mind expressed. Moon moved on the real politik. While most watched Washington and Pyongyang for signs of coming together, it was Moon who spotted hesitations and repeats of key words in statements and knew when to nudge the discussions into apparently harmless areas of agreement that a meeting might be possible. There is no point in a meeting unless agreement is possible, otherwise it is a major failure of diplomacy.

 

Moon became the arch diplomat in praise of famous men only. He said Trump deserved huge credit for almost everything. Mr Trump was pleased. He said Mr Kim was wise. Mr Kim was pleased. So this week the two Korean leaders meet for the next move towards a summit and the CIA director reports back to the Oval Office that everything looks in good-fix mode. June could be summit month.

 

Or could it? Kim Jong-un is likely to be playing a harder game. Above everything he wants to be treated with respect. He could blow the world in half and would be willing to do so his people in the alleys of South Korea say. Trump could fires someone and pull out of a summit on instinct. Moon could loose his own people in the dangerous political gambit he is playing. But if they pull this June meeting and with it the nuclear agreement and the distinction of affording respect then the most dangerous arc on the globe could become something quite different.

 

And here is something: if the trio hold this together, what’s the betting there’s a joint Nobel Peace Prize. Who would have thought that in January 2017.

How Russian Cyber Warriors Can Bring UK To Standstill

April 16, 2018

by

Christopherleesays.com

London 16 April 2018

Russian cyber teams could create chaos in the UK within 3 days and to a standstill in under ten days. News reports suggest that cyber attacks into essential social and government systems are a result of the US coalition attack on Syrian chemical warfare units. This is not so. The UK Intelligence assessment is based on analysis long before the attacks.

Russia has a Cyber Warrior Command within the state military structure that launches attacks and exercise against Western systems and infrastructures and for the past six months, a new cyber protection unit protecting it from attacks from among others, American, British and Chinese cyber units.

Interestingly from the Western cyber defence units when attacking Russian systems to test cyber defence is the existence of irregular and highly intelligent and motivate Russian youth groups – top end IT students kicking over rules and anti-cyber restrictions at will.

In Moscow, the nashi organization controls and directs many youth groups.  But others operate on their own picking targets at will.  A further threat is already identified by what Western Intelligence people refer to RBN, Russian Business Network – the criminal-owned cyber systems that are in many cases more advanced than the government teams.  Some of the criminal cyber individuals are being hired by there Russian military to fill gaps in expertise.

So, what would the Russian or any other enemy cyber warrior teams do in times of tension, including TTW, the crucial Transition to War hours and days?

The key is DDOS – Distributed Denial Of Services.  As the name suggests, this is the capability of disrupting or freezing infrastructures upon which we all rely: medical, energy, communications at every level and even food supplies.

The British NHS relies entirely on computer routines for drug supplies, appointment availability, operation schedules, ambulance coordination (even refilling vehicles and crew availability) and most of all, responses to major events. The NHS could be closed down by cyber warriors in 24 hours.

Fuel supplies could be cut off inside three days and no energy supplies could reach the UK within 9 days. The underwater energy system that connects to 3 million UK homes could be stopped inside two days.

The biggest threat to the UK and one which would stop compensation and alternative systems to the collapse of those above, is everyday communications – for example, the Russians could take out the 97 per cent of UK-Overseas global communications.

In short: cyber warriors could degrade UK civil systems and infrastructure so that they bring to a halt normal living, thus creating panic and divert ground based military capabilities to protect society from itself.

During TTW, the biggest threat to the UK is not bombing but the fragility of its society when basic infrastructures go down.  Cyber Warriors can make that happen.

 

OK Mr Trump Bomb Syria – Then What?

April 12, 2018

Christopher Lee Says – wwwforeignpolicy.org.uk

13 April 2018

Why would President Trump risk starting WWIII because 50 people were killed in a place in Syria most of us had never heard of? The answer is because those men, women and children were killed, apparently, with chemicals.

About every couple of weeks half as many again Syrians – say 75 – are killed when a 500b bomb is dropped on them. Also, the bomb creates more chaos and maims more Syrians. The logical behaviour pattern of war is cock-eyed. Downing Street and the White House declare that the use of chemical weapons in Douma must not go unchallenged.

Chemical weapons kill far fewer than conventional ordnance. The arithmetic of war is unsound this week.

There is too a well-known wonkiness in Trump-speak when maybe emboldened by the consequences of the North Korean affair, he tells Russia and Syrian to look out — the smart missiles are on notice to go.

The rhetoric even winds up America’s allies. The British Prime Minister for example, immediately calls Washington and assures President Trump that she is making sure Britain is right behind him. Alongside rather than behind might be a better reassurance, but never mind. The mood is fine and Mrs May is reassured that the UK and not France is America’s Number One Ally.

More importantly, Mrs May’s reason for seemingly without any strategic military understanding of the consequences proposed by President Trump feels forced into an instant declaration of loyalty to Trump Cause because her single most important ambition is to guarantee special trade status with the USA after March next year. Who would have thought the deaths of 50 in Douma had a Brexit connection?

And then his generals go into the Oval Office and ask him what he plans to do when a miscalculation means one of those American smart missiles kills another 50 Syrians and perhaps does it again and again during the first night’s salvo.

Moreover, what will he do when Russians in an armoured vehicle or a command centre are blown away and Moscow presses the revenge button. And how many letters in his Tweet does he need to explain to even the people of Lake Wobegone Minnesota that rather than pulling out of the Middle East (as he promised two weeks back) America is now in a powerful war that can probably only end in America’s humiliation.

In other words, it’s not the shock’n’awe of the missile strikes but the what-happens-next that matters. Given that the chemical warfare inspectors are going into Syria this weekend an attack is unlikely during the coming 48 hours. Perhaps Trump’s generals can use the time to really get him to answer the question: Okay Mr President we can put 1200 missiles into Syrian by next Friday. But then what would you have us do? Time to Tweet a different crisis Mr Trump?

Could be, the generals might argue with spirit and could be that the Russians are already sending private signals to this end.

Last night, the emergency lines between Russian and American commands were switched on. There are there to avoid miscalculation. They do not always work. Fingers crossed.

 

Syria: Iran holds the answer, not Russia

April 11, 2017

Christopher Lee

London11 April 2017

The White House is confused about Syria. It does not know what it is supposed to think which, is a difficult position for President Trump having ordered the cruise missile strike.

It gives every indication that the President of the United States knows nothing about the Syria Situation and cannot measure up to being a real President – one at whom the buck stops. He can be briefed. But he does not understand power beyond running Trump Property Development.

Here then is a simple briefing for the man who has everything but displays nothing.

The Trump Administration (and it seems the British Foreign Office run by Boris Johnson also) believes that the way to fix Syria is to hammer the Russians and then bring them on board.

Wrong.

The people to be sorted are first the Iranians, then the Saudis. It is true that the Russians appear to be the muscle in President Assad’s punch against the rebels. But the real and long term allies are not the Russians. They could change sides any day. The real war chums are the Iranians.

The Iranians are Shias. Assad through his Alawite family are Shias. Iran is the proxy war fighter of the Middle East. Iran sees the battle with the rebels as a battle with Sunnis – therefore this is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia (Sunni ruled) and Iran.

So how do you fix it?

America has to deal with Iran by saying Assad can stay but must run elections with Iran providing security.

A deal has to be done with Russians to maintain its port, the only constant access it has in Med. That is not difficult. Apart from anything else militarily, satellites can have a permanent watch on the Russians alongside and produce on-the-hour Intelligence of capabilities.

Also, by leaving the Russians in Syrian (they were there anyway) America would be tacitly accept that the theatre map of today is the one to work. A treaty would be produced involving Gulf Council. Syria, Iran, Russia and US and it will reviewed in 2 years.

All sounds simple and of course it is not. It could take another couple of years to fix and the real hope of a solution – a palace revolution in Assad’s own house – has to be hoped for. It is the only chance of a long lasting peace.

There is one simple fact that fed to Mr Trump may give a thought to play with: he believes the sarin attack was bad news. Yes. But every day there is worse. Conventional weapons kill more and maim more than a chemical attack.

Last month the Syrian airforce dropped 495 barrel bombs and killed more Syrians doing so than died in the gas attack. Last year the Syrian airforce delivered 12,958 barrel bombs. Mr President ask why the US (and the rest of us) did nothing.

Why Trump Bombed Wrong Bomb

April 7, 2017

 

Christopher Lee

London 7 April 2017

President Trump called Prime Minister May and said this is what we have in mind. Prime Minister May said Go for it.

Defence Secretary Fallon took a call from Defense Secretary Mattis who said he was putting 59 cruise into the Homs air base. Defence Secretary Fallon said Have a good one.

President Putin sat by the phone. No one called.

This morning (Friday) it was all done. The newly shaped National Security Council of generals in Washington (McMasters, Dunford, Coats, Mattis) had a good day.

The President needed to respond to the gas attack on Kahan Sheikhoun. He needed to back away from Obama policy of do nothing. Mr Trump was, maybe still is, an ideal man in charge on the day for the generals.

Donald Trump suddenly had his top people asking Mr President, what do you want us to do?

Man alone eats hog, was how Willie McCobb used to say it when he ran the Mississippi Delta. Big appetite for power but it fades when you’re the only one at the hog roast. In crude terms that’s what has happened.

So two questions: who gets what out of the US response? What happens next?

Syria: The destructive power of that attack could destroy President Assad’s palace and bunker in Damascus. Assad knows now that Russia cannot be guaranteed to defend him. There were Russian anti-missile systems at the Homs air base. No attempt was made to fire them. The US isn’t afraid of Russia.

Russia: They read Trump wrongly. His policy on Syria has not changed. Still no boots on ground. But his readiness to do something Obama would not do (one-shot game changing) they never anticipated. Putin will need revenge and that can only be diplomatic and he has no options.

Iran: In the Middle East Iran is the most feared state after Israel. Iran controls or backs policies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and threatens others in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Iran is protective military cousin to Assad. Iran has failed on this one. It has lost image among other countries. It will try to freeze on bi-lateral agreements with the United States, but Trump is now a tried and tested arse-kicker.

UK: Other NATO and European countries did not get the calls from Washington. The past 24 hours showed Washington regards London as people on-side, trustworthy. Downing Street matters. Mrs May did well to be the first into Trump’s Washington. It rings Thatcher-Reagan times.

Next? We are to believe this was a one-off. It happened because Assad, or whoever in his bunker ordered a gas attack and the way the Western world reacted. This in itself compares ideologies.

A gas attack kills fewer people and cause less long term wounds than a 500lb conventional bomb raid.

Yet in the West, still with images of World War One, gas is a far more sinister weapon. It is illegal whereas a conventional warhead that can cause far greater catastrophe is polished and sold to anyone at public annual exhibitions.

Therefore, logically, America should be cruising every Syrian bomber airbase. But warfare obeys made-up rules.

The world doesn’t think about the gassed child who got a shot of atropine in time and will be back at school next week.

The world doesn’t compare that poor wretch with the kid in the conventional and legal bombing raid with both legs blown off for the rest of his or her life and a demolished hospital that cannot save the rest of the family. This is really the story of the past 24 hours. We all got mad with Assad for using a wicked weapon whereas the bigger killer goes unpunished. Trump has not got that far in the moralist’s warfare manual. There may be worse to come.

Trump wanted power. How to respond to the sarin attack was his first experience. It is hoped he did not like it.

Trump: Needs a Good Hair Cut?

March 1, 2017

Christopher Lee

Washington, 28 February 2017

The best barber in London is Trumpers, aka Geo F Trumper. The best President in America at the moment is Donal Trump. Hold that thought for a moment.

So yesterday I watched The Best President address the Congress.  He was presidential. He was not the image at the inaugural last January who made most of us squirm at his sheer grotesqueness. He said a lot of the Okay things this time and as sure as the Tomb of the Unknown Norwegian is still in Lake Woebegone Minnesota, Congress believed him. Even the Democrats didn’t get as far as the angry protest they’d planned.

What’s happened? Simple. Trump got nasty, got elected, got it wrong a few times, got the We-Told-You-So editorials in the New York Times etc and is now listening.  What’s going on?

Trump was never out to become President on a political ticket.  He had no Republican agenda. Health Care Bills etc held no interest. Trump simply wanted to be President. That’s all it was. He has rubbished every institutional leader and policy maker and has proved the most damning and disturbing fact about modern Western government.  We are moving to the point where we no longer need politicians.

All Trump needs is Trumpism that means the senators and congressmen and women can get something for the people who vote for them every time a new Bill comes across from the White House.  It is called pork barrelling. Take defence. $54billion extra means that everyone on the Hill will get something out of it for the small or big defence defence companies in their constituencies. There’s always something to chew in a hog roast – pork barrelling.

Trump has turned the corner into the corridor of the re-electable Presidents.  But in the Nation’s Capital there is a better story than that hoofing along the smart brunch tables of Georgetown.

Maybe Donald Trump only wants a single term. Why? Because he has someone in mind to succeed him.  That person is another who thinks we are done with the need for politicians. Trump knows he got elected in the excitement for something new, something different and something that was not Hilary Clinton or anyone else. So what is the Trump Plan?

He stays for just one term and then his Manhattan born daughter Ivanka runs for President.  That’s real dynasty and if he can from now on get it right it could happen.  Trump’s numbers are going up. Regular Democrats and Republicans are going down.

Now back to the demon barber. Trump’s image is to be changed, slightly. True. You heard it here. He needs literally brushing up.  So where does he go for his makeover? On the day he goes for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, Donald Trump keeps the photo-op of all photo-ops. He sits in the top right hand chair (the smartest) at Geo F Trumper’s salon on 1 Duke of York Street and get’s his cool all-American presidential short back and sides.

Duke of York Street of course is named after the royal general who marched them up to the top of the hill and marched them down again.   Just what President Trump has been doing.

 

 

Trump: Is he really that scary?

January 16, 2017

 

Christopher Lee

New York, Sunday 15 January 2017

The elite I trust. They taught me, commanded me, trashed me. So when all else has failed I have asked them, read them, listened to them.

This week, the elite outside continental USA tell me President-to-be -Friday Trump (PTBF) is a scary guy, should not be President of the USA, is grotesque, is intellectually corrupt and we should leave town Friday.

I wonder – meaning: I wondered at their confidence to say all these things and, I wonder if they are right.  After all, the experts all said Trump would never make it to be PTBF.

So this comes from a weekend tour of my Harvard haunts, every column that could be read over Georgetown brunch and a couple of sours in Charlie O’s plus weak tea in the back house in that place on 59 West 44th Street where Joyey Margolies who says he ran for Swifty Lazar has a friend on the Wall Street Journal who knows the real deal on Trump.

Here’s how they tell it. Trump will cancel the even limited 2-way Intelligence Street between London and Washington and the 5-eyes Intelligence network that takes in Australasia even though his people plan a major military deployment in the Southern Ocean.

Trump would/will bomb North Korea’s warhead and rocket development bases even though the immediately retaliation could take out a 30,000 US troop contingent in South Korea.

Trump admires the way Putin has fixed Syria about which he knows little and cares less. Trump will defy US doctrine and team up with Putin to solve global issues.  Russia is on verge of bankruptcy so Trump will lift sanctions.

Trump will threaten but not destroy Chinese military coral reefs in South China Sea and will confirm a major and permanent  bomber and amphibious deployment in Australia’s Northern Territories to which the Australians will agree.  Trump will encourage Japan to scrap restrictions on long distance military deployment and build nuclear weaponry  thus threatening war with China.

The above is just a taster to add to the very European view that the man should never be President.

But pause for a moment. Every single thing Trump scares us with has been, more or less, US policy for the past 40 years.

The US Intelligence people have always ignored the 2-way street.  North Korea has always expected a US attack – part of the reason why it’s building a nuclear arsenal (using the Pakistan model of megatons mean respect).

Every president since NATO’s formation in April 1949 has criticised European contributions and threatened to pull out. And did not Reagan in his October 1986 Reykjavik Zero Zero nuclear summit with Mikhail Gorbachev propose hand-in-hand solving the world gone mad?

But say the experts, especially at Harvard and in Charlie O’s (the connection is a whiskey sour so more obvious than you think) before was all about the nice, reliable guys.  O yes? LBJ? Nixon? George W Bush?

Just read his lips as George Herbert Walker would have said.  PTBF is not saying anything the earlier guys did not say. Maybe he’s got bad manners.  But then so have the guys he’s calling sad sad sad.

Joey Margolies learned from Swifty Lazar to always follow the money. The experts are losers. Joey Margolies is giving 5-4 on a PTBF second term. Mind you, that makes Joey an expert.  Trump is not going to be as bad as the experts tell me. You heard it here. (So be careful).

 

Trump Likes Fake Story Allegations

January 11, 2017

Christopher Lee

11 January 2017, London

Has President-elect Trump been involved with prostitutes? Has Russian Intelligence proof that he has? Answers: No and No. Correction: No one has produced anything but unsubstantiated allegations. Mr Trump says it is nothing but fake-news and US Intelligence was acting like Nazi Germany for spreading allegations.

Did President Putin have anything to do with Russian hackers breaking into last year’s American presidential election. Answer: could be. Not just another unfounded allegation? Seems not. Who says so? None other than Trump’s nomination as US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson told his Senate confirmation hearing that he believed it to be a fair assumption that Putin’s people did hack into the system. Mr Trump told his news conference that Mr Putin should not have hacked into the US and he will not be doing in future.

That is about that. That is all we really know. But could there be something more behind all this claim and counter claim just days before Mr Trump becomes President Trump. Answer: most certainly.

Allegations that Russian Intelligence has evidence that there are Trump-Russia accounts that suggest greater contact with Moscow than Mr Trump has admitted and damning evidence of prostitute involvement are bizarre enough. Suggestions that the FBI believe all this comes in some detail from a usually reliable source Is verging on the unbelievable.

There has never been a lead into a Presidential inauguration like this. There has never been a decline in ratings for an incoming President like this. Mr Trump’s ratings are in the 40s. The out-going President Obama’s rating is 55. There is a steady stream of damning stories, fake or otherwise, that make Mr Trump the most embattled President ever.

But then that is the nature of these times in America. Mr Trump ran a sometimes grotesque election. He won. Mr Trump has faced and denied accusations that if they were true would have the Vice President-elect Pence taking over. But Mr Trump, far from running scared, is using the unsubstantiated allegations to his advantage. His view is that the corrupt state – from the FBI down – is exactly why he was elected.

Some in Washington who know the ways of the Nation’s Capital are putting big bucks on Mr Trump not surviving 4 years. There’s a truth seeker’s adage, always follow the money. On this occasion beware. Those same people who think Trump cannot survive are the same people who thought he could not get there in the first place.

As he ended his news conference, there was a frontier atmosphere that reminded us all that the whole White House thing had change. Mr Trump looked pleased and the news crews were scratching their heads. What should have been the hardest day for Mr Trump since November 8 seems to have been a triumph.

Mr Trump? Not Guilty. Everyone else? Guilty as charged under Trump Law.