Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
In 2012, Mitt Romney said of Russia, “This is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” Later, at a presidential debate, President Obama famously responded, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
The press giggled at zinger just as they had mocked Romney’s concern about Putin’s growing belligerence. Let’s check the status of the US/Russia relationship today:
Secretary of State John Kerry has suspended diplomatic talks with Russia over Syria, citing President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military intervention on behalf of incumbent dictator Bashar Assad.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a Monday statement. “The United States spared no effort in negotiating and attempting to implement an arrangement with Russia aimed at reducing violence, providing unhindered humanitarian access, and degrading terrorist organizations operating in Syria, including [Islamic State] and al Qaeda in Syria.”
Kerry attempted to negotiate a ceasefire that would have led to coordination between the United States and Russia to destroy the terrorist groups operating in the country. Under the terms of the deal, U.S.-backed groups and Assad would stop fighting and humanitarian aid would flow into rebel-held quarters of Aleppo, a critical city in northern Syria. After seven days of such behavior, the military coordination would begin to take place.
Before the Syria negotiations were declared dead, Putin stuck it to the US in another snub:
It comes on the same day that Putin announced he is canceling a plutonium disposal treaty, signed in 2000, designed to destroy material that could be used for making nuclear weapons.
But that’s not all! Monday the State Department belatedly revealed that Russia apparently drugged US diplomats while they visited St. Petersburg last year:
Two U.S. officials traveling with diplomatic passports were drugged while attending a conference in Russia last year, and one of them was hospitalized, in what officials have concluded was part of a wider, escalating pattern of harassment of U.S. diplomats by Russia.
The incident at a hotel bar during a UN anticorruption conference in St. Petersburg in November 2015 caused concern in the U.S. State Department, which quietly protested to Moscow, according to a U.S. government official with direct knowledge of what occurred.
But it wasn’t until a dramatic event in June, when an accredited U.S. diplomat was tackled outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, that officials in Washington reexamined the November drugging and concluded they were part of a definite pattern.
The State Department suggested the harassment has become a particular concern in the past two years.
According to the U.S. government official, and another former official also knowledgeable about the case, the drugged diplomats were part of a delegation of Americans attending the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held on November 2-6 in St. Petersburg.
In other news, one of the key architects of our diplomatic “reset” with Russia is apparently running for the US presidency on the Democratic ticket.
Perhaps Putin will use the shiny red button to turn on the Jacuzzi at his new dacha in Crimea.Published in