No Meaningful Retaliation

Russia has never been better informed about the complexities of American domestic politics and this cannot be attributed to excellence in intercepting and decrypting high level codes and ciphers. The Kremlin is now cashing in on decades of investment in Amerikanistika since the creation of the USA and Canada Institute under KGB man Georgii Arbatov in 1967 .

As shown in the last blog, the only means of retaliation other than punishing the US embassy in Moscow would damage the Russians as much if not more than the Americans. Even reducing the hundreds of embassy and consular employees in Russia promises to damage Moscow’s interests more than Washington’s because the Americans are simply going to cut the large numbers of Russians employed and reduce drastically the rate at which visas to the United States are processed. An own goal if ever there was one. Forget Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev’s diatribe; he is just sorely disappointed that Russia cannot now exploit Silicon Valley’s technological advances as China has so deftly done. And he has to live down a reputation for being easier on the West than his patron.

The latest indications are that Russia’s President himself does not wish to destroy what little trust remains in the relationship with Trump. No doubt Henry Kissinger has long ago reminded Putin that Congress did its utmost to break détente with Brezhnev in the early 1970s against the wishes of the White House. The more forgiving approach to this thorny problem can be garnered from the discussion in today’s Komsomolskaya Pravda (E. Chesnokov, ‘ “Vo vsyom vinovat Kongress.”: Tramp nashyol krainego v sryve amerikano-rossiiskikh otnoshenii’)

The Kremlin evidently appreciates Trump’s transparent reluctance to sign the law on sanctions applying to Russia that so irritated the media except, of course, Fox News and the Washington Times. The subtitle of the article by Chesnokov says it all: “In accepting new sanctions, the 45th president retains a loophole for a possible rapprochement with Russia.”