What do President Obama and Saddam Hussein have in common?
If your answer is that “they both lit the oil fields on fire when they left”, don’t forget to collect your $200 as you pass “go”.
On Thursday, the not-for-long-president’s administration levied sanctions against Russian embassy diplomats suspected of working for Russian intelligence services, giving the banished Russian operatives three days to leave the country. The timing suggests that this is yet another attempt on the part of the White House to harm United States-Russian relations. Why would the U.S. government expel these diplomats? The official White House answer states that it is “because of Moscow’s attempted interference in the 2016 presidential election”. However, President Obama has consistently maintained that no hacking of election voting machines took place.
What “election hacking” is the White House then referring to? Facts reveal that they are conflating the email hacking of the DNC and Podesta campaign data released by Wikileaks with the election voting itself.
Even if it is conclusively determined that Russia is behind that hack (an allegation that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has vehemently denied), how exactly was the election affected? Obama claims that voters made decisions about who to vote for because the email hacks shed a negative light on the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
The best analytical breakdown of the Democrats’ attempt to shift blame from the content of their corrupt emails to the messenger belongs to Hollywood actor Rob Schneider.
It’s true. The Russians may have rigged the election by showing that the Democrats definitely rigged the election.
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) December 19, 2016
Blaming the Russians for losing the election is like blaming the hotel room for getting caught with a prostitute.
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) December 18, 2016
In addition to the U.S. government proclaiming that 35 Russian intelligence operatives are no longer welcome in the United States, Obama’s executive order also shut down two Russian compounds. One of these compounds is on a 45-acre lot at Pioneer Point, Maryland, which was purchased in 1972. The other compound is on 14 acres of Long Island, New York real estate which was purchased in 1954.
President Obama has stated that the DHS and FBI will soon release information that will “identify and detect Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities” as well as “uncover” previous election cycle interference.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was swift to tweet his support of the White House’s decision.
Strongly support the Obama Admin’s work to fight back against Russia’s interference in our election. We need to punch back & punch back hard
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 29, 2016
The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom, meanwhile, had a different take.
President Obama expels 35 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) December 29, 2016
The real question we face is this: Why has President Barack Obama just now decided to issue sanctions on Russia when their behavior has been well known for so many decades? We can only assume that the Andrews golf course was rained out and a fit of boredom suddenly came upon our commander-in-chief. The fact that he is less than a month away from leaving office while issuing this executive order is not lost on the American public.
Obama’s attempt at complicating U.S.-Russian relations didn’t appear to register any impact on behalf of the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Friday that he does not plan any form of retaliation against the United States.
President-elect Donald J. Trump subsequently tweeted his approval.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016