Vladimir Putin
Credit: Remy Steinegger/Wikimedia Commons

I have a few solutions for this:

Russia’s ambassador to the United States has told NBC News he can’t remember a period of worse relations between Washington and Moscow, after both countries expelled dozens of diplomats following the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Said Anatoly Antonin: “It seems to me that atmosphere in Washington is poisoned — it’s a toxic atmosphere. It depends upon us to decide whether we are in Cold War or not. But … I don’t remember such a bad shape of our relations.”

If Ambassador Anatoly Antonin doesn’t want poisoned relations with the West, he could try convincing his boss to stop holding fake elections, murdering people left and right, using a nerve agent in the United Kingdom, shooting down passenger airplanes, invading and annexing territory from his neighbors, having his mercenaries attack our troops in Syria, and hacking into our infrastructure, voting networks, and political parties’ emails.

I’m sure we could think of something reciprocal to do in return to be a little less annoying to the Kremlin.

Ambassador Antonin added, “Today Russia’s responsible for everything, even for bad weather. It’s high time for us to stop blaming each other. It’s high time for us to start a real conversation about real problems.”

Antonin could improve bilateral relations immediately by not saying risible things like we’re blaming his country for the weather.  That would be a good start. Just not saying things that make Americans want to slap your face would be like a new beginning.

In the meantime, we’re trying to rid ourselves of your leader’s great gift to us, President Donald Trump.  There’s no amount of apologizing that’s going to atone for that trick. You pantsed us in front of the world, congratulations. But don’t think we’ll ever forget.

In all seriousness, though, you can’t assassinate people on the street in our countries with military grade chemical weapons and think we’re going to smile, shake hands and “start a real conversation about real problems.” That was an arrogant miscalculation that has now resulted in the expulsion of more than 150 Russians from 27 Western countries.

Early 2018 had Putin heading towards a staggering, but not surprising, electoral victory against dead and disqualified opposition candidates. This dominance allowed Russia’s president to ride his eventual 76.6 percent final poll tally to a new level of cavalier confidence on the global stage. Political dominance at home and fawning support from President Trump gave him a delusional sense of invincibility. It led him to overreach and miscalculate.

Now, well over 20 Western countries have joined together to give Putin the one-finger salute for a U.K. chemical agent attack he is suspected of either directing or condoning…

…Of course, Western allies will also lose in this tit-for-tat game by giving up their limited eyes and ears in Russia. But the Western economic consequences and political fallout are likely minimal, with Russia needing foreign exchange from energy sales more than the West needs reliable Russian wheat productivity figures.

Trump may not want anyone in his administration to talk about these expulsions, perhaps out of fear that the pee-tape will be released, but he still went along with it. If Putin wanted better relations with our country, he could have made completely different decisions. He got cocky and overplayed his hand, proving he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com