Normally, after we expel a bunch of diplomats from a country, that country then does the same. And, in fact, in response to Barack Obama expelling 35 diplomats, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergy Lavrov, recommended Moscow do the same.
Vladimir Putin, however, decided to go troll master on Barack Obama. Putin has declined to force American diplomats out of the country because
“While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Mr. Putin said, using a common Russian idiom for quarrelsome and unseemly acts. “In our future steps on the way toward the restoration of Russia-United States relations, we will proceed from the policy pursued by the administration” of Donald J. Trump.
Not only does this rub salt into Democrats’ wounds over Hillary’s loss and the Russian hacking, but it also is a reminder that Barack Obama’s days in the White House are rapidly coming to an end. Oh, but it goes beyond that.
Mr. Putin called it “unfortunate” that the Obama administration chose to end its relationship with Russia in such a way, but he sent New Year’s greetings to Mr. Obama, his family, Mr. Trump and “all the American people.”…
Mr. Putin said he did not want to deprive the diplomats’ children of access to the recreational area on the island. He went one step further, inviting all children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to celebrate the New Year and the Russian Orthodox Christmas with him at the Kremlin.
So, not only is he not throwing out the Americans, but he’s inviting them over to his house for New Years.
Troll level: Master.
Also, like the Israelis, it has to be a bit wounding to Barack Obama’s thin skin that both the Russians and Israelis are taking the position that nothing Obama really does matters because Donald Trump is going to undo it all.
Unfortunately for us, however, Trump really does need to treat Russia as a threat, not as a friend.