A former Russian spy who turned a double agent and was in jail was brought over to Britain in a spy swap back in 2005.
More than the happenings in Ukraine in 2014, it’s the expulsion of nearly 125 Russian diplomats by some 21 Western countries, in a coordinated move over an issue that appears too insignificant in itself, that gives worrying signs of a new Cold War. This means the ceasing of cooperation between the leading powers to solve pressing world problems. The back of the Islamic State (ISIS) was broken only after Moscow’s intervention in Syria and the limited coordinated military action between the United States and Russia.
A former Russian spy who turned a double agent and was in jail was brought over to Britain in a spy swap back in 2005. Recently there was an attempt to murder him and his daughter through use of a nerve agent. The British offered no firm evidence but decided Moscow was behind it. Despite strong Russian denials, Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats.
She is a relatively weak leader who was perhaps playing politics to look strong. But Washington followed suit with the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle. The Europeans fell in line. Now the Russians have packed off 150 Western diplomats, including 60 Americans, and shut the US consulate in St. Petersburg.
The West has evidently signalled its will to corner Moscow and seek to weaken President Vladimir Putin, whose domestic popularity remains high as he has brought economic stability after chaos and restored national pride. For all the legitimate criticisms made of President Donald Trump, he had the right instinct to engage Russia to solve problems. That aspiration would appear distant now.