As I pointed out yesterday, Russians will yawn. They did.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia sees minimal chances of extending the New START treaty with the United States - their last major nuclear arms pact - as it does not accept conditions set out by Washington, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Monday. He spoke came after Marshall Billingslea, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, told a Russian newspaper that Moscow must accept a joint agreement with Washington on extending the treaty before the U.S. presidential election in November. "I suspect that after President Trump wins re-election, if Russia has not taken up our offer, that the price of admission, as we would say in the U.S., goes up," Billingslea told Kommersant newspaper in an interview. Ryabkov said that position constituted an ultimatum and lowered the chances of reaching any kind of agreement to extend the deal, which expires in February next year. "We cannot talk in this manner," TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. Another news agency, RIA, quoted him as saying the chances of a treaty extension were "minimal".
As I say non-stop, unless one rehearses to go out on the stage of the Saturday Night Life for some absurd, and long ago stopped being funny, skit, this whole START "business" doesn't even qualify for a minimally amusing routine. One doesn't talk in ultimatums to the only power on Earth which can turn D.C. into parking lot even without nuclear weapons but these simple skills are beyond the grasp of American "diplomacy". Lack of culture and sophistication in D.C. prevents them from understanding a simple principle which is: ultimatums tell more about the side which issues them, much more and are the first sign of desperation and weakness in a dyadic relations between US and Russia. Russia is not compromising on her arsenal, in fact, something tells me she is holding something back. To be revealed when the time comes.
Pompeo, in his interview to Bild (in German), declared the creation of anti Nord Stream 2 "coalition". This is not news and Russia is pretty nonchalant about it. Obviously it is all about US LNG, which MUST go to Europe, both to finance US ailing economy and kill any prospects for already barely competitive EU products. It is between Germany and the US. It is all boring. And, really, did anyone think that Russians will react otherwise to ultimatums? I know, I know, history is not a strong point in D.C. but they should really refresh it once in a while. I mean real history, not narratives.