North Korea isn’t the only country with whom the U.S. is engaging in tit-for-tat diplomacy. After Russia shut down two U.S. consulates and dismissed 755 State Department employees this summer, the Trump administration has responded by further whittling down Russia’s consulate presence here in the United States. The State Department has announced that Russia has until September 2nd to close down a San Francisco consulate and two diplomatic annexes in Washington D.C. and New York.
“The United States has fully implemented the decision by the Government of the Russian Federation to reduce the size of our mission in Russia. We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.”
As detrimental as Russia’s decision may be, the State Department doesn’t think further knocking back Russian diplomatic presence in the U.S. will cause undue harm. Instead, they frame the decision as a means of preventing a further erosion of ties by putting both countries on a level playing field, noting that “we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.”
Last but not least, the State Department took a page from Taylor Swift’s playbook, suggesting that Russia made the United States do this: “The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides.” But given how this feud continues to degrade, this is unlikely to be the last move in this ongoing game of diplomatic chess.