After Trolling Obama, Russia Plans Retaliation Over Expulsions

After Trolling Obama, Russia Plans Retaliation Over Expulsions

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Let’s start off with how excited the NY Times Editorial Board is that Obama finally did something

While it is definitely too late, and may also be too little, there should be no doubt about the correctness of President Obama’s decision to retaliate against Russia for hacking American computers and trying to influence the 2016 presidential election.

It would have been irresponsible for him to leave office next month and allow President Vladimir Putin to think that he could with impunity try to undermine American democracy. That would have been a particularly dangerous legacy given President-elect Donald Trump’s alarming affinity for Mr. Putin and stubborn refusal to accept the conclusion of American intelligence agencies that Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed at helping him and hurting Hillary Clinton. The president-elect told reporters dismissively before Mr. Obama’s decision was announced that Americans should “get on with our lives” and forget about the hacking scandal. So much for that wishful thought.

His latest response shows real teeth, chiefly in the form of sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, the F.S.B. and GRU, including four top officers of the military intelligence unit who the White House believes ordered those attacks. Mr. Obama also placed sanctions against a number of other individuals and companies, such as the Special Technology Center, which conducts signal intelligence.

Mr. Obama also expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives and barred Russian diplomats from using two recreational compounds in the United States. The White House said this action was specifically in response to a two-year pattern of harassment of American diplomats in Russia by Kremlin security personnel.

Here’s the thing: where’s the proof? The joint FBI/DHS report is vague and simply shows that people and countries like to hack and phish and stuff. Nor is there any proof that Russian “hacking” made any difference in the election. This is how the Russian’s responded

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Mitt Romney would like an apology. And now we get

(Washington Post) Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday suggested that President Vladimir Putin expel 35 U.S. diplomats and close two properties used by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow as part of the growing diplomatic slugfest over Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. (snip)

“It is regrettable that the Obama administration, which started out by restoring our ties, is ending its term in an anti-Russia agony. RIP,” Russian Prime Minister DmitryMedvedev wrote Friday on Twitter.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a statement carried by the Interfax news service, called for 31 employees of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg to be declared “persona non grata” and forced to leave the country.

Further, he suggested the Russian government ban the use of a vacation cottage, or dacha, on the outskirts of Moscow often used for holiday receptions and a warehouse in the Russian capital used by diplomatic staff.

“We hope that these proposals will be considered as quickly as possible,” Lavrov said, portraying the response as symmetrical to the U.S. measures. “Of course, we cannot leave such acts unanswered; reciprocity is a diplomatic law in international relations.”

So, good news, Obama is doing a heck of a job in bringing back Cold War era diplomatic rows as he gets ready to walk out the door.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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