Today, on a lighter note, I want to share with you two official US statements which gave the Russians a monumental case of uncontrollable laughter. First, US Trade Representative Tai which actually declared that the Russian import substitution program violates the WTO norms and hurts the US workers (see here and here). Yup, you read that right. The US imposes (totally illegal) sanctions on Russia and when Russia begins to produce domestically, the US whines that this violates WTO norms.
What did they expect? I mean, seriously, did they think the Russians would simply do nothing?
Still, there is even better. Listen to US Secretary of State Blinken:
A few guiding premises animated our work this year. One is that American engagement – American leadership – matters. The world doesn’t organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we don’t lead, then one of two things happens: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests and values, or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, it doesn’t serve the American people.
Get that? Blinken seriously believes that:
- The US can still lead something (other than itself into the grave) and
- Blinken believes that “chaos” is not the inevitable outcome of “US leadership” (the US screwed up every country it ever touched), but believes that the way to avoid chaos is for the US to try to run the planet again
Both Tai and Blinken are viewed by Russians as the US version of Zelenskii: clowns, which are really funny, but should not be tasked with anything bigger than a smalltown theater.
More serious Russian analysts marvel at the level of degradation of the US ruling elites. During the Cold War the US and the USSR were enemies, but nobody on the Soviet side would have denied that their US counterparts were at least competent professionals, some of them quite formidable.
One Russian commentator suggested that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hire psychiatrists to deal with the US officials. He was only half joking.
Anyway, tomorrow should be an interesting day, the US will give its response to the Russians. Right now the US side is saying that it does not want to engage in public diplomacy, but since the Russian ultimatum was public, I don’t really see how they will be able to keep their reply confidential, especially if the US reply is as out of touch with reality as are the delusional ravings of Tai and Blinken. We shall soon see.