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Boris Johnson as British FM Is Good News for Peace With Russia

He can be scarcely worse than the horrible Philip Hammond

The new British Prime Minister Theresa May made a sensational pick for the post of Foreign Secretary in her cabinet – Boris Johnson who led the ‘Leaveniks’ in the EU referendum. What a unique decision that only Britain can make! Johnson now becomes the flag-carrier to plot the new uncertain journey ahead without even a signpost, leave alone compass, to navigate.

But beyond the Brexit discourse as such, there’s a hilarious ‘sideshow’ here. After the departure of Boris Yeltsin, another great entertainer is appearing on the European diplomatic stage. This exciting politician with a Shakespearean wit, like his namesake in Russia, can be very unconventional in the stiff world of diplomacy.

Johnson has hurt the ego of many statesmen, some of whom are still around. He once memorably said about Hillary Clinton: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

He once wrote a poem about Turkish president Recep Erdogan having sex with a goat. Now, Erdogan is an unforgiving Sultan with whom Johnson has an urgent need to discuss the war against the ISIS. Johnson was a notoriously pro-Israeli British politician who took delight in ridiculing the “corduroy-jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics in the UK” for championing the Palestinian cause. Barack Obama? Well, Johnson thought he was a “part Kenyan” who secretly harbored an “ancestral dislike” of Britain.

Sounds plausible, though. Obama studiously neglected the ‘special relations’ with UK. An erudite mind like Obama certainly knew about the bloody Mau Mau uprising (1952-1960) in his ancestral country – especially, the horrific Chuka Massacre and the Hola Massacre. In the British concentration camps, prisoners were questioned with the help of “slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes”. Castration by British troops was also widespread – although, evidently, Hussein Onyango Obama, the grandfather of the US president who was among the detainees, escaped such a fate.

But the most utterly intriguing thing is that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson believes he has more than a touch of Russian in himself. He insistently told a panel of experts on a BBC panel that his great-great-grandmother was a Circassian slave from southern Russia sold to his great-great-grandfather. Although the experts couldn’t confirm the claim, Johnson relished the idea and wore his fondness for Russia on his sleeve while being London Mayor – and Russians adore him.

So, Russia now gets a foot in the American camp, with two ethnic Russians holding key positions – a foreign minister in London and a defence minister in Tel Aviv (Avignor Lieberman.) But, seriously, Johnson can make some difference to the chill in the relations between Russia and the West — and prevent a New Cold War. He is on record saying:

  • The EU was partly at least responsible for the crisis in Ukraine;

  • The Assad regime in Syria may be repulsive, but ISIS is “far far worse. These are the people who have carved out this foul statelet in the desert, this dark star whose tractor beam of evil has sucked in so many pathetic would-be jihadists from Britain and other countries in western Europe… They burn people alive – simply for holding to a slightly different version of Islam. They throw gays off cliffs or out of windows. They put their opponents in cages and then lower those cages into swimming pools, all filmed to the accompaniment of their droning music and their pompous commentary”;

  • The Syrian regime and Russia are the West’s best allies in the fight against the ISIS. ““Am I backing the Assad regime, and the Russians, in their joint enterprise to recapture that amazing site? You bet I am… When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Churchill decided to qualify his lifelong hatred of communism… And as he foresaw, it was the Russians who did the most to help us win the war.”

He won’t favor the western sanctions against Russia or the US project pitting NATO against Russia. (By the way, he is also a popular figure in China.) If misfortunes come in battalions, perhaps, so must be the case with fortunes. From Moscow’s perspective, hot on the trail of Brexit comes Johnson. Of course, Russia’s ties with Britain can only get better, they hit rock bottom during Cameron’s tenure.

Johnson is clear-headed alright. He opposed the Iraq war and hinted once that Tony Blair could be a war criminal. Bravo! Interesting times lie ahead — 3 women at the helm in world capitals (Hillary Clinton, Theresa May, Angela Merkel) – and Boris Johnson conducting the orchestra. Read a scathing attack on him in the Guardian, here.

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