The bellicose tweet was just the latest example of an increasingly snarky, sarcastic and even personal, Russian tone toward the U.S. “The negative pivot by Russia is palpable,” said Obama’s former ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul. Yet Kerry and President Barack Obama continue to pursue dialogue with Moscow, convinced that the only thing worse than talking through the escalating insults is not talking at all.
The problem is, we've turned the other cheek so much that we're now below our belt with no Russian restraint in sight.
Sure, the Russians are just using mean words. That is in part a substitute for the generally inferior Russian military (apart from their growing nuclear arsenal) compared to America's military.
But Russia can deploy power superior to ours in regions close to Russia and far from our power. And unless we mobilize and deploy enough military power to reverse any gains Russia makes until we can do that, Russia will make territorial gains while they have a temporary advantage in the theater that they have chosen to fight in.
My worry when foes start to talk with hostility and contempt is that rather than being a substitute for action, the verbal tirades reflect behind-the-scenes decisions to use military power, and so telegraph military action.
UPDATE: Bizarrely, the Russians claim to be the victims in the current deterioration of relations:
"We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances when it comes to the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of U.S. policy towards Russia," Lavrov told Russian state TV's First Channel.
"It's not just a rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps that really hurt our national interests and pose a threat to our security."
Russophobia? Ask a whole line of victims of Russia if fearing Russian aggression is a mental disorder, eh?
Good God, are they all addled by vodka and medical marijuana?
If the Russians really believe this, we'd best keep our powder dry. Those paranoid nutballs could lash out using their local superiority while convinced that they are just one step ahead of our darkest plan to destroy them.