President Putin responded to the outgoing US administration’s efforts to provoke conflict through new sanctions in what some are calling the “most embarrassing” way possible for US President Obama. On Friday, Putin stated:
Whilst we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to lower ourselves to the level of irresponsible “kitchen” diplomacy. In our future steps on the way towards restoring Russian-American relations, we’ll proceed from the policy pursued by the Trump Administration. … I also invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin and I offer New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.
Putin’s announcement that he’s taking the high road shocked American experts and even embarrassed the Obama administration. On Friday, Michael Kofman, a global fellow at the Wilson Center specializing in Russian and Eurasian affairs, told Business Insider:
This is frankly the most damaging and embarrassing answer the USA could receive. It’s quite clear that both the Obama administration and Congress are trying to box Donald Trump in on Russia policy, but instead of responding to this latest salvo with predictable retaliatory measures, the Russians chose to make them a nonissue.
Boris Zilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also told the website that he believes the decision not to retaliate is a win for Putin:
I think Putin saw through Obama’s attempt to throw a wrench into relations in the next administration, and looking as though he’s above the fray is likely a win as well for him.
Mark Kramer, program director for the Project on Cold War Studies at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, asserted that the response, and dismissal, makes Obama’s efforts look “weak”:
Putin’s conspicuous announcement today was intended in part to give the impression that Obama’s measures are weak and inconsequential (as, indeed, they largely are) and don’t deserve a response.
On Thursday, President-elect Trump reiterated his belief that it is « time for our country to move on to bigger and better things », expressing again his disinterest in conflict with Russia. On Face the Nation earlier this month, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said:
It seems like the president is under pressure from Team Hillary, who can’t accept the election results. It’s very clear that President Obama could’ve “retaliated” months ago if they were actually concerned about this and concerned about this affecting the election.
30 December 2016
Watch Obama & Co forbid any American to attend the Kremlin parties. That’s nasty and petty. I’d advise VVP to send presents to the American Embassy anyway. It’d put the ball squarely in the Anglos’ court, wouldn’t it? The last few weeks have deepened my contempt of the Anglo Establishment and their Upper Middle Stepin Fetchits in the corporate, media, political, security, and intel apparats. Their vileness, mendacity, spitefulness, and cruelty have been on parade. I didn’t think that I could think less of this scurvy crew… I was wrong.
Orthodox people… do you see why we have to keep a close eye on the loudmouth konvertsy? They ally themselves with the enemies of the Rodina and of the Church. They want to suck out the Christianity in the Church and replace it with Evangelical goo and with the worship of Almighty Mammon. I confide that I’m not alone in opposing that…