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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

“Mirror” answers – a dead end: how Moscow should react to the closure of the Consulate General

According to the head of the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moscow will not leave unanswered the Washington decision on the closure of the Consulate General and the trade missions of Russia in the United States. As stated by the Minister of foreign Affairs, the aim of the new U.S. measures were undermining bilateral relations. At the same time, Lavrov said, “this whole exchange (restrictive measures), sanctions attacks was the administration of Barack Obama.” However, in the White house for more than six months – the new owner, President Donald trump. Whether his politics are as strong inertia from Obama’s presidency? This “MK” asked the experts.

photo: press service of the foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation

Fyodor LUKYANOV, chief editor of the magazine “Russia in global politics”:

“We can say that these processes are initiated, for example, the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. It is clear that we can not calm down about Obama. And, basically, what Lavrov said – correctly and accurately, it all started with the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats in December last year. In my opinion, a big mistake was made by then President Vladimir Putin, who decided to break the routine practice of “mirror” responses, just hoping for change in US politics after coming to power trump. But, as we have seen, this gesture is appreciated by the American side was not. Thus he hit is normal, the rhythm of the symmetric actions. In addition, he played a role and the factor of change of administration – trump seems to be irrelevant to the December events, but to go towards Russia only because of the fact that some bad measures have been taken by his predecessor Obama, he can’t, either. Everybody is confused, and now we have a picture in which besides the common problems – low confidence, etc. – is not familiar and clear plans, actions and counteractions. The U.S. decision on closing the Consulate General in San Francisco just makes it worse. And obviously, Russia will respond, not only on this but, I think, mainly on the closure of sales offices in Washington and new York. Because in the case of the Consulate can talk about the fact that the American side had restored parity, but the closure of trade missions response will follow. Unfortunately, this is absolutely senseless, what is known is still on the events of the Cold war, because in the end everything will start to think about how to stop it, and then how to restore the lost connection. Again, the problem is that lost a “mirror scheme”, if it worked as before, it would be easier.

What can Russia respond to the US actions, while we can only guess. It’s hard to understand what is “mirror” measures, because they assumed, for example, the expulsion of 35 diplomats in response to the 35 expulsion of diplomats. Further, the parties were to stop or to continue to exchange symmetric steps. Now it is simply impossible to prove whether a reciprocal action of “mirror”.

Yuri ROGULEV, Director of study USA, Franklin Roosevelt:

“The situation is more complicated than you might imagine. On the one hand, indeed takes place, the inertia from the Obama presidency. Because, you know, state Department officials now are 90% the same, but new jobs are not filled. About the same things in the White house. Therefore, inertial processes, of course.

As regards the administration of the tramp, and as we all know, is in a very difficult position. The American President – in a constantly sounding in his address allegations of links with Moscow – the situation is bound hand and foot. And any step towards Russia would be tantamount to, if not political suicide, then at least the confirmation of all now prevailing conspiracy theories about the “hand of the Kremlin”. Therefore, trump is forced to act a certain way. Moreover, I believe, in any confrontation he’s afraid to show any weakness, fears that he could be called a weak President. That is a tangle of possibilities and what has been delivered on the rails.

The question of what our country can respond to U.S. steps that are complicated – it depends on the goals of Russia. I think we have reached the hell, when you should think that it would be best for us, including in relations with the United States. “Mirror” answers is a dead end, so we can reach that in each of the two countries will remain at two diplomats headed by the Ambassador. What we see now is detrimental not only to the relations at the international level. Already affected the levels of communication between peoples and cultural exchange, and sports, and academic exchange, student… you Can, of course, to stop it all, but will it fit the concept of civilization, twenty-first century? I hope that the response from Moscow would be balanced and reasonable. Not to answer anything. We are not just deprived of the opportunity to use the building in San Francisco. It was a condition that it should be released within two days – and we understand that it is not enough in this case. This is a vindictive, scornful attitude, putting the Russian side in difficult conditions”.


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