The State Department issued a surprise announcement yesterday on its website titled "Achieving Parity in Diplomatic Missions," which deserves to be republished in full before explaining why it represents a shameless betrayal of the same conservative principles which pushed Trump into the Presidency:
"The United States has fully implemented the decision by the Government of the Russian Federation to reduce the size of our mission in Russia. We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.
In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City. These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.
With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each. While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.
The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted."
From this statement, it’s plain to see that the US is clothing its supposedly 'reciprocal' actions as "achieving parity," arguing that the outcome of complying with Moscow’s request earlier last month to lower the level of American diplomats in Russia to the same number as Russian ones in the US supposedly 'deserves' to be enforced on its counterpart.
Russia has no problem fulling all of its responsibilities at the three diplomatic facilities that Trump’s State Department demanded be shut down, though the US apparently is unable to do the same in some of its Russian-based ones with the same level of in-country staff as Russia has in the US. That’s not Russia’s fault, but rather a problem of American mismanagement.
Apparently, however, the American diplomats who were ordered to leave Russia might not have just been pushing pens and paper, so to speak, at least judging by the US’ reaction to their departure.
Had they only been doing benign paperwork, it’s doubtful that the US would have been so infuriated to the point of escalating its diplomatic row with Russia to the level that they just did. Even being professionally embarrassed at not being able to carry out basic diplomatic functions such as visa issuances with the same number of in-country staff as Russia doesn’t explain this move.
One can speculate day and night about what such a disproportionately large amount of American diplomats were previously doing in Russia in the first place, but that’s not the point of this commentary.
What observers should pay attention to is the ideological contradiction between Trump’s anti-liberal rhetoric on the campaign trail and his blatant disregard of these same principles in this instance by embracing the concept of enforcing "equal outcomes despite equal opportunities" which lays at the core of conservatives’ opposition to "affirmative action" and other liberal-progressive projects.
The implementation of this standard against Russia is hypocritical because it embodies the exact same ideas that Trump’s conservative base claims to detest.
In this case, Russia is being punished because it can better manage its American-based diplomatic facilities with the same level of in-country staff as the US can in the reverse scenario.
Responding with the same trumped-up indignation and virtue-signaling smarminess as a typical liberal-progressive who’s upset that a hard-studying Asian student got accepted to an Ivy League school instead of an academically underperforming African-American, to use a provocative example, the US demanded that Russia close its facilities because its ‘not fair’ that they’re run more efficiently than American ones.
This jealous attitude is a nothing more than a complete betrayal of the most basic principle of conservativism, which is to accept that "equal opportunities don’t always lead to equal outcomes."
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