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Russia Responds: “The US Has Declared The Hot Phase Of Diplomatic War”

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Just minutes after Russia was given 2 days to implement today’s decision by the State Department, shuttering Russia’s consulate in San Francisco, California and two diplomatic annexes in Washington, DC and New York City, in “the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians”, the Russian responses started coming in, and they were not happy. 

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was first on the tape, saying he  “expressed regret about the escalation of tensions in bilateral ties”, noting “it wasn’t Russia that started the escalation.”

Lavrov told Tillerson that Moscow would “closely study” the new US measures and would inform Washington of its reaction in due course. Ironically, earlier in the day the US said that it “is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted,”even as the State Department prompt tweeted that the “US hopes to avoid further retaliation & move forward with improved relations & cooperation with #Russia

US hopes to avoid further retaliation & move forward with improved relations & cooperation with #Russia

— Department of State (@StateDept) August 31, 2017

To be sure, former US ambassador to Moscow and vocal Putin critic, Michael McFaul, was skeptical:

Let’s see.

— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 31, 2017

And judging by the immediate outpouring Russian reactions, he has every right to be. According to AP, the newly arrived Russian ambassador to the US invoked Vladimir Lenin in saying Moscow will carefully consider its response to the latest US diplomatic escalation: Anatoly Antonov flew into Washington on Thursday, hours after the State Department’s announcement of the closure.

Russian news agencies quoted him as saying: “We have to act calmly and professionally. Speaking like Lenin, we don’t need hysterical impulses,” citing a Lenin maxim.

But the heavy artillery was as usual relegated to domestic Russian politicians:  Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian Duma’s foreign affairs committee, accused the U.S. of a sharp escalation in diplomatic tensions.

Slutsky, one of the top Russian diplomats, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, “It’s a highly unjust step. It means that the U.S. is declaring the hot phase of diplomatic war.”

Leonid Slutsky

Cited by AP, he also said that closing institutions abroad is more serious than the U.S. decision last year to expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two estates used by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Other takes on the latest diplomatic spat were just as skeptical. Former US diplomat Jim Jatras said that while President Trump says he wants better relations with Russia, he recently qualified that with “some day” and “eventually.”

For a lot of people in Washington, having bad relations with Russia is an end in itself, it’s not a means to an end. And they are calling the shots, not President Trump,” Jatras said. “If there is anybody in his administration who wants to improve ties with Russia, it is him – but as far as I can tell, he’s about the only one.”

“This is all part of an escalation of tensions between the US and Russia which, I am sad to say, the US initiated,” Dan Kovalik, who teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, told RT. “Just when there appeared to be a welcome breakthrough between the US and Russia at the G-20 Summit, the US Congress reacted to the possibility of a détente by immediately and overwhelmingly acting to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia aimed at Russia’s natural gas trade in Europe,” Kovalik said.

The sanctions were adopted with veto-proof majorities, so President Donald Trump had to sign them into law at the beginning of August.

“It appears that there is strong, bipartisan opposition in the US to a peaceful relationship with Russia, and this opposition is putting the entire world at risk of more war and conflagration,” Kovalik said. “It is high time the US pull back from such provocations of Russia and find a way to work with Russia as a friend and partner, just as Russia has wanted for many years.”

“This tit-for-tat will mean eventual catastrophe for everyone on earth, unless we finally get some sanity in US leadership, to pull back from the brink,” said Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies at New York University. “Judging from the warlike posture of both parties and the US media, it’s hard to see where such restraint will come from; and yet those of us who see the danger must do all we can to warn against it.”

Finally, retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley told RT that US foreign policy sometimes looks as if five-year-olds were in charge of it. “This childish tit-for-tat game will not end well unless there’s a grown-up in the room who can put an end to it.”

So far the only grown ups in the room are intent on further escalating said “game.”

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North Korea threatens S. Korean reporters over book review

September 1, 2017 rbksa 0
The Associated Press
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea on Thursday vowed to execute reporters from two South Korean newspapers, saying they insulted the country’s dignity while reviewing and interviewing the British authors of a book about life in the isolated country.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency carried a state court statement expressing anger over the descriptions of North Korean lives as increasingly capitalist. It also objected to the translated title of the South Korean edition as “Capitalist People’s Republic of Korea” and the book’s cover that replaced the red star in North Korea’s official seal with the US dollar mark.
North Korea’s Central Court also “sentenced to death” the presidents of the newspapers and said the North will “track down to the end and cut off the dirty windpipes” of those responsible for such provocations.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry denounced the North Korean comments as an “absurd threat” and said it “sternly warns” the North to immediately stop threating South Korean citizens. Seoul’s government is ready to take “every measure needed” to protect its citizens, the ministry said in a statement.
The North didn’t directly threaten the British authors of “North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors,” but said the book “viciously defamed and distorted” the country’s realities.
The book was written by Daniel Tudor, a former Economist reporter, and James Pearson, a Reuters correspondent.
North Korean propaganda is often filled with odd and extreme threats. In June, it vowed to execute South Korea’s former president and her spy chief over an alleged plot to assassinate its leadership. Seoul’s National Intelligence Service denied the claim.
The North also threatened South Korean news organizations in 2012, when its military warned that its troops had aimed artillery at the specific coordinates of some Seoul-based newspapers and TV stations over their critical reports on children’s festivals that had been taking place in Pyongyang. The North didn’t carry out on the threat to wage a “merciless sacred war” over the perceived insults.

Main category: 
US heavy bombers, jets in show of force against N. Korea
As US ban on travel to North Korea kicks in, tourist says he would return
Russia warns US against using force over North Korea

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