A Gesture

Maybe an empty one, maybe a start in the right direction.  Germany has announced they’ll expel four (count ’em) Russian diplomats in response to Russia’s attempted murder of an ex-pat and his daughter.  Other EU members are expected to follow suit “soon.”

We, on the other hand, have chosen to expel a larger (in part because Russia has larger contingents here) and more targeted bunch, sending off 60 of Russia’s intelligence officers present here under the guise of diplomatic attaches.  We’ve also closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Better yet would be extending economic sanctions.  Stop support for Russia’s second natural gas pipeline running under the Baltic Sea.  Stop buying Russian oil and timber.  Deny Russia access to the European banking system as well as to ours—the nation’s access, not just that of some handy oligarchs.

Step up arms sales to Ukraine and Georgia.  Run a couple of major exercises in the immediate neighborhood of Kaliningrad and near the Polish and Baltic States’ borders with Russia.

Vladimir Putin doesn’t necessarily respect strength other than his own, but the bully fears it.

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