On Sunday, Vladimir Putin finally announced his long-anticipated retribution against the United States for sanctions imposed against Russia. The United States diplomatic staff in Russia was cut by two-thirds, with 755 members dropped, leaving 455. Also two facilities were taken away from the U.S.
What most fascinates me, though, is not what the retribution was, but that Putin's retribution for U.S. sanctions is coming NOW, a full seven months AFTER the sanctions by Obama were made -- not to mention three years after Russia's annexation of Crimea which brought earlier sanctions. It's almost like Putin had been promised by someone not to worry, that the U.S. sanctions would be reversed...
But no, that's not possible at all, who in the world would have given the Russian president that idea.??
At the time that President Obama announced his sanctions against Russia in December for its efforts in hacking and trying to manipulate the U.S. presidential elections, pretty much all analysts commented how surprising it was that Russia didn't respond. The experts noted how unlike Russia it was to not immediately announce its own retaliatory sanctions.
That it not only took Russia seven months to retaliate (not to mention the three years after the Crimea sanctions), but even more to the point that the Russian retribution came days after those sanctions became official when Trump was basically forced to sign them against almost unanimous and veto-proof Senate and House votes, speaks volumes that Russia was waiting to see what would happen. And since -- given the almost-unanimous votes -- it was pretty clear what the attitude in the Senate and House were, there would seem to have been absolutely no reason to wait to see...unless Russia believed there was a reason to wait and see.
And that brings us back to the original point. There is pretty much only one reason Russia might think they had a reason to wait for the sanctions to be dropped. And that's because they were told by representatives of the Trump campaign team.
I don't know if that's what happened.
I only know that I can't think of any other more likely, more reasonable explanation.
I'm sure there are other explanations. Hey, if Jared Kusher can forget 100 people he had meetings with and $100 million in loans and explain it away as basically, "Oops, my secretary screwed up" -- and Don Trump Jr. can forget that there were six people in his meeting about adoption, I mean dirt on Hillary Clinton, or rather seven people, or sorry, make that eight, and explain it away as not important because they (supposedly) didn't get anything -- and if Kellyanne Conway can try to explain reality away because of "alternative facts," then...sure, I'm sure there are other explanations.
But likely and reasonable is the standard.
Not just mine. I suspect the FBI and Special Counsel are operating on the same principle.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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