The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 4th August 2017

US diplomats get the boot in Russia

by our European Affairs correspondent

RUSSIA has kicked out hundreds of American diplomats following more US sanctions against Russia, Iran and Democratic Korea. The American diplomatic compound in a Moscow park has been closed and its right to use warehouses in the capital withdrawn. The Trump administration slammed the move as “a regrettable and uncalled for act,” and said that they were now assessing their response.

One of the last acts of the outgoing Obama administration was to expel 35 Russian diplomats and seize two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York following claims that Russia had intervened in the presidential elections in favour of Donald Trump.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the elections. But Democrat claims of Russian support for Trump have fired anti-Russian hysteria in Congress not seen since the dark days of the Cold War. The new sanctions regime against Russia was passed by overwhelming majorities of 419 to three in the House of Representatives and by 98 to two in the Senate.

Trump, who beat Obama’s chosen Democratic Party successor, Hillary Clinton, in the presidential race last November, had talked about building bridges with Russia to end the tension between the two super-powers. But the new American president has proved unwilling or incapable of over-riding the aims of the warmongers who lead the Democrats and pack the ranks of his own Republican party in Congress.

The order to slash the US diplomatic presence in Russia came six days after the US Congress overwhelmingly approved new anti-Russian sanctions on 24th July. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that 755 US diplomats must leave the country as a result of Washington’s own policies. The American diplomatic establishment in Russia will now stand at 455, the same number that Russia currently has in the USA.

Putin said: “The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian—US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia.” Russia’s countermeasures to the US sanctions bill are entirely reasonable, says outspoken French journalist and broadcaster Gilbert Mercier, adding that contrary to the hopes of many, the toxic idea of American nationalism continues to thrive in Washington under Donald Trump, threatening to drag the world into yet another conflict.

Russia’s ruling circles now realise that Trump has his hands tied by the war party in Congress and its sponsors from Wall Street and the US military-industrial complex, he said.

“Thankfully more people in Russia’s policy circles and media have come to the realisation that Trump’s hands are tied, and that he is largely a powerless empty suit serving a joint military-industrial/Wall Street Junta with an almost mummified one-party Congress which could be called the Republocrat War & Wall Street Party,” Mercier says.

Mercier, who has lived in America since 1983, told the media that “the almost unanimous vote for the sanctions in Congress was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back,” and not only for Russia, but also for Iran and Democratic Korea. Since then Iran has successfully launched a satellite into orbit and north Korea had conducted an intercontinental missile test.

Mercier says that “the time has come for Moscow to be on the offensive, and take the initiative again like Russia did with regard to Ukraine, Crimea and the military intervention in Syria back in 2014 and 2015, respectively...the United States is the world’s bully, and as such, it only understands the use of force, not compromise or diplomacy.”