Even if it takes a profoundly lefty Salon to start question things and even come to this conclusion:
It may be that the not-especially-competent May got carelessly out in front of herself as she authorized the first expulsions of Russian foreign service staff. It may be that the French, Germans and Americans lined up an extensive alliance behind the British to save the May government from self-induced embarrassment. But what followed last week suggests something else. Given the evident coordination of the rapid-fire wave of expulsions, we are left to question whether the Skripal incident was not extensively planned among the leading Western capitals as an intentional provocation. This is Moscow’s argument now, in any case.
Then something went really-really wrong. I can even say what--a loss of Western competencies across the whole spectrum of states' activities, including inability to even do a proper false flag. Not that recent West's false flags were proper--all of them, from WMD in Iraq to White Helmets' "chemical weapons" histrionics in Syria, all of them are the work of amateurs. As it is duly noted in Salon's piece:
If I read the past week correctly, we witness the start of a sustained campaign to force Russia into a condition of diplomatic isolation. This may be correctly viewed as a response to the failure of economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy, given that Russian GDP is now once again expanding, but that is not the point. As spring turns to summer we are also to watch as NATO once again pushes the degree of tension along Russia’s frontier to a still higher degree of danger.Are these matters a prelude to events disastrous enough to get their own chapter in the history books? Things unfold incrementally, one bit of bad news at a time, leaving us disinclined to think in these terms. We should resist this tendency. Moments such as this have turned into disasters often enough in the past.
Actually, what is highlighted in yellow IS the point. Everything what was thrown at Russia in the last 10 years by combined West not only didn't reach any desired objectives but, in fact, grossly weakened this very West. You know I like to use Tolstoy often and I'll do it again to draw warranted, in fact irresistible, parallels with the state of mind of the combined West today, which explains a lot:
"Despite news of the capture of the fleches, Napoleon saw that this was not the same, not at all the same, as what had happened in his former battles. He saw that what he was feeling was felt by all the men about him experienced in the art of war. All their faces looked dejected, and they all shunned one another's eyes only a de Beausset could fail to grasp the meaning of what was happening.But Napoleon with his long experience of war well knew the meaning of a battle not gained by the attacking side in eight hours, after all efforts had been expended. He knew that it was a lost battle and that the least accident might now- with the fight balanced on such a strained center- destroy him and his army.When he ran his mind over the whole of this strange Russian campaign in which not one battle had been won, and in which not a flag, or cannon, or army corps had been captured in two months, when he looked at the concealed depression on the faces around him and heard reports of the Russians still holding their ground- a terrible feeling like a nightmare took possession of him, and all the unlucky accidents that might destroy him occurred to his mind. The Russians might fall on his left wing, might break through his center, he himself might be killed by a stray cannon ball. All this was possible. In former battles he had only considered the possibilities of success, but now innumerable unlucky chances presented themselves, and he expected them all. Yes, it was like a dream in which a man fancies that a ruffian is coming to attack him, and raises his arm to strike that ruffian a terrible blow which he knows should annihilate him, but then feels that his arm drops powerless and limp like a rag, and the horror of unavoidable destruction seizes him in his helplessness"
Leo Tolstoy, War And Peace, Book 10, Chapter XXXIV.
I can only repeat Marga Simonyan's recent appeal to the West: