Foreign Policy

Trump Plays Putin With Expulsion of Diplomats

The U.S. expels 60 Russian diplomats for poisoning ex-spy in the UK. It's a shot across the bow.

Political Editors · Mar. 27, 2018

President Donald Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia is certainly not reaping any benefits for Moscow. On Monday, Fox News reports, Trump “ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence officers in the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in the U.K. earlier this month.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained, “With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences. The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior.”

With this move the U.S. joins its European allies as well as Canada and Australia in issuing a strong rebuke to Vladimir Putin, the recently “re-elected” Russian strongman. In fact, Trump’s response against the Kremlin has been the strongest of any nation including the UK. And it is the most sweeping expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War. Trump’s move follows his recent national security team shake-up — his team now includes Mike Pompeo heading the State Department and former UN Ambassador John Bolton as his new national security advisor. Both men are considered to be hardliners when it comes to dealing with foreign threats.

However, Trump’s move is by no means a sudden gesture or policy change, even though one may assume so given the incessant Democrat and Leftmedia narrative of a Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy. For example, in January Trump announced new sanctions against Russia for its involvement in helping North Korea evade UN sanctions. And he hasn’t shied away from facing off against Russia in Syria. As Reuters reports, “The U.S. military killed or injured as many as 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked private military firm after they attacked U.S. and U.S.-backed forces.” Furthermore, the Trump administration plans on providing the Ukrainians with anti-tank missiles to fend off Russian-backed separatist attacks, something that Barack Obama refused to do in the face of Putin’s obvious aggression.

Recall just last week Trump was maligned by the mainstream media over his having called Putin to congratulate him on his “election” victory. It is clear that what Trump says and what Trump does are not always congruent. And as is often the case, his actions speak louder than his words.

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