Friday, July 01, 2016

Our Reset Friends, the Russians

The Russians have taken to harassing our diplomats:

Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

Asked? No word if Kerry said "please."

Of course, this isn't just Kerry's doing:

There was a debate inside the Obama administration about how to respond, and ultimately President Obama made the decision not to respond with similar measures against Russian diplomats, [former ambassador to Russia Michael] McFaul said.

This is more than just being jerks:

Worse, there are mounting indications that the FSB is exporting its nasty aggressiveness beyond Russia. Recent reports indicate that rough Russian surveillance of American diplomats has become the norm in many countries, and in some cases it’s taken the form of aggressive harassment that is scaring our diplomats.

Across Europe, Moscow’s surveillance of American diplomats has jumped dramatically since 2013, and in the countries that spent the Cold War in the Warsaw Pact it’s become downright threatening. Russian spies have been breaking into the homes of our diplomats to intimidate them, tailing them aggressively to the point of stalking, and generally creating a climate of fear that’s reminiscent of the worst days of the Cold War.

Asking Russia to behave isn't going to work:

When the FSB misbehaves against American diplomats, the U.S. Government should do what we did during the Cold War and evict known Russian spies from our country. For every assault on one of our diplomats, a dozen SVR or GRU operatives will get PNG’d. [declared persona non grata and expelled] Espionage tit-for-tat is something the Kremlin understands very well. The longer we stop fighting back, the longer Putin and his FSB will continue to get away with murder.

Much like 2012 when the president didn't want bad news about the war on terror to interfere with the election, he probably doesn't want anything to demonstrate that our Russia policy is anything less than spectacular.

So our diplomats and diplomacy will suffer to get Hillary elected.

Which will be a diplomatic bonanza for Russia, too.

UPDATE: This is late, but given Russian physical assaults on our people we should  expel every Russian diplomat but the top guy and the staff janitor.