It looks like some sort of tension is brewing with Russia. In the last week, there has been an exchange of expulsions of diplomats that, on the surface, is looking like there might be a restart to the Cold War.
The Kremlin announced on Thursday that it would expel 60 American diplomats, and probably dozens from other nations, intensifying Russia’s clash with Europe and the United States.
The action, which also includes closing the American consulate in St. Petersburg, was in retaliation for the expulsion of more than 150 Russian officials from other countries — itself a reaction to a nerve-agent attack on British soil that Britain and its allies have blamed on Moscow.
The international tag team expulsion of Russian diplomats has its roots in the poisoning of a man in England who seems to have been a double agent.
The measures came in a crisis over a nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter that the U.K. government is blaming on Russia. While the Kremlin’s action underscores the tense relations between Washington and Moscow, the use of a customary tit-for-tat response suggested that President Vladimir Putin isn’t looking to escalate the situation.
The tension between the world’s superpowers is nothing new. Neither is a war being conducted without firing a shot. However, expelling diplomats usually is not done unless there is cause for it. In this case, the question is how did Skripal end up being poisoned and by who.
The intelligence is clearly overwhelming enough to cause many nations to join with the United States and the United Kingdom kicking out lots of diplomats. Surely there is more here than meets the eye.
The question, though, is what, and what do the leaders of these countries seek to accomplish with all the removals and closures of consulates?