Am I enjoying the furore over the Trump dossier? Yes and no. It is extremely depressing seeing Trump live up (or is it down?) to his reputation, and yet at the same time such schadenfreude rarely happens.
But what I am impressed by is the skill of the Russians.
My take – and it is simply that – is that at very little cost they have managed to drive a considerable wedge between a US President and his intelligence agencies, even before he has been inaugurated.
Knowing Trump’s character and how he would react, all that was needed was to provide information through sources trusted by those intelligence agencies, and allow us to do the rest. In time we will learn that most of the dossier is false, but in among its lurid (and as yet unspecified) details there is likely to be sufficient truth to make everyone wonder what is and what isn’t true (and there is also a delicious irony in Trump being skewered by facts that aren’t but which might be). And those truths will have been enough to ensure that Western intelligence agencies couldn’t ignore the dossier.
The UK’s former Moscow ambassador, Sir Andrew Wood, told the Guardian today that “the report’s key allegation – that Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign – was eminently plausible.” But does that really matter?
For what the dossier has done is to destabilise the relationship between a US administration and its spooks. That is what should worry us.