On Thursday, a senior U.S. official told Reuters that the United States has expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow.
“These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice,” the official told Reuters.
The White House acted in response to findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia sought to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton and aid the election of Donald Trump.
Under the administration’s response, Russia compounds in Maryland and New York will be shut down and 35 Russians have been declared personae non gratae. In a statement, Obama said: “All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions.” Russia has denied involvement and demanded the U.S. offer evidence.
The move follows a series of foreign policy moves that appear designed to create trouble for the incoming Trump administration.
Last Friday, the Obama administration coordinated the drafting and submission of a U.N. resolution that would force Israel to cede East Jerusalem and other areas to the Palestinians. The administration then abstained from a vote on that resolution which allowed it to pass.
Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry spent over an hour repeatedly admonishing and lecturing Israel over its negative reaction to the resolution.
The Obama administration is suddenly seeking to make trouble with friends and enemies alike in something resembling the scorched earth tactics employed by General Sherman during his “March to the Sea.”
So much for a smooth transition…