The US' War on Russian Diplomats

The US’ War On Russian Diplomats
The US unexpectedly decreed late last week that Russia had just a couple of days to close its consulate in San Francisco and several other diplomatic facilities in the country, which continues Washington’s new habit of turning Moscow’s diplomats into collateral damage in the New Cold War.

It was actually the Obama Administration which first started targeting Russian dignitaries in late-2016 when it ordered nearly three dozen of them to leave the country due to their alleged involvement in “hacking” the election, but few could have expected Trump to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps, especially considering everything that he had said on the campaign trail about improving relations with Russia.

All of that seems to be forgotten, however, since the State Department released a snarky statement attempting to justify its moves as being “in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians”, which is a gross misrepresentation of Russia’s request last month for Washington to drop its level of diplomats in the country to the same number as what Russia has in the US. It’s incomprehensible to some why the US needed 755 more diplomats in Russia than Russia needed in a country over two and a half times as populous as its own, but this move must have greatly hindered some unseen American activities to have provoked such an angry response from the State Department.

What the US decided to do last week has nothing to do with so-called “parity” since Russia never once came close to violating the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Protocol that many observers have now accused the US of doing in kicking the Russians out of their San Francisco consulate and several other properties and then consequently searching the premises. The Russian Foreign Ministry even compared this action to “state hooliganism” and suggested that it was done to intimidate Russian diplomats, which marks an unprecedented low in the ongoing New Cold War. Russia vowed to respond to the aggressive US moves, though it was careful to qualify that it won’t do so in hysteria like what Washington seems to want. 

To discuss the situation in more detail, we are joined by Bernard Casey, an economic modernization specialist for Russia and its former territories, who served as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kiev during the reunification of Crimea with Russia and Matthew Farag, Chicago-based political commentator.

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