Successive Westminister governments have resisted demands that former members of the British army stand trial for murders committed in Northern Ireland, no matter how compelling the evidence.
Therefore, Theresa May’s administration cannot be entirely surprised by the Kremlin’s pull-the-other-one response to its decision to charge two Russians over the March nerve-gas attack in Salisbury.
Though the Russian behaviour, no less than international terrorism, is utterly unacceptable, Ms May could well be disappointed when she, on the eve of Brexit, asks the EU to harden sanctions imposed on Russia.
Indeed, Britain could better express its unhappiness with Russia by seizing the billions flowing through the London money-laundering system so helpful to some very questionable Russians. She is unlikely to find little real comfort in Washington, either — especially as Russia was so influential in Trump’s election.
It might be tempting to gloat at the fate of Perfidious Albion, but that would be unwise. Rather, the lesson must be, once again, that divided we fall, united we may endure.