MOSCOW — Lame duck Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered three dozen high-ranking U.S. diplomats out of the country by the end of the weekend Dec. 29.
“The time has come to put an end to American interference in our affairs. Our recent Duma elections were marred by cyberattacks that the heads of our intelligence services traced to the United States. The Russian people will not be ruled by foreigners, whether in Napoleon’s day, Hitler’s, or Obama’s,” said Putin.
The decision came after nearly two months of deliberations with senior intelligence officials and the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Several reformist Duma members were critical of the move, saying it raised the specter of war with the world’s remaining superpower, and was motivated by self-serving partisan interests. Putin is due to turn over the Kremlin to his successor in one month.
“We still remember the fears of the Cold War,” said the head of Russia’s equivalent of the Tea Party, Alexsandr Bugokov. “The Russian people deserve a full and transparent explanation of what our intelligence services found before they are subjected to the fury of American nuclear warheads. Show us the evidence. So far all we have heard is partisan innuendo.”
American diplomats responded coolly to Putin’s decision.
“This action puts an ugly blot on the record of Russian-American relations,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “Today Vladimir Putin has embarrassed his own countrymen and shown his incompetence.”
Imagine if this had been the story yesterday. How would you feel as an American? Pretty put out, I’d imagine.
However, the sad truth is that the “leader of the free world,” U.S. President Barack Obama, is the one who decided to up the ante with the world’s second-largest nuclear power by ejecting thirty-five Russian diplomats and sanctioning nine Russian government entities in response to what our fearless leaders say was Russian hacking and interference with the Nov. 8 presidential elections.
Pretty curious as to how there’s never any allegations of meddling with the Nov. 8 gubernatorial or senatorial elections, whose winners would wield considerable influence over things that concern Russia like trade and defense….But that’s just me.
The simple fact is that if there was any Russian interference in the U.S. elections, it was simply to reveal the secret e-mails of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the world. Not exactly ballot-stuffing.
Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Congress applauded Obama’s decision. Their only criticism? That he didn’t act sooner and more harshly.
“It is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
“Sanctions against the Russian intelligence services are a good initial step, however late in coming,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian president will develop a response to the new U.S. sanctions, and told reporters that “there is no doubt that this adequate and mirror response will make the U.S. side feel very uncomfortable as well.”
Peskov said Obama pushed forward with sanctions “to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, deal a blow on the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect.”
Great. Thanks Obama. Thanks Ryan and McConnell.
Obama’s decision makes Nov. 8 look even more important in retrospect. If this is how the Establishment deals with Russia after having lost an election and with its tail between its legs, how much more aggressively would our elites have been if they had won, and knew that they’d retain executive power for at least four more years under Clinton?
We can only hope that Trump will see through the smoke and mirrors, and make the world a more peaceful place than these warmongers on Capitol Hill and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have made it for the past 15 years.