March 27, 2018

Because it's Trump, I wondered what the catch was when Trump agreed to expel Russian diplomats. It seemed like a bare-minimum action, but I'm not a foreign policy expert. This conversation added some useful context.

New York Times foreign policy reporter David Sanger and Daily Beast editor John Avlon discussed the previously unheard of coordinated effort with multiple countries to expel Russian diplomats with Chris Cuomo on CNN's New Day.

"What is missing, though, Chris, is two things," Sanger said. "One, the president's own voice. And second, an overall strategy that explains to us how we're going to contain the Russians or engage them."

"The key point that David's making is, the Trump team deserves credit for this," Avlon said. "This is tough, substantive action against Russia as part of a multilateral coalition to punish them for poisoning folks on foreign soil. That is a good step forward. And it's three times the number of diplomats that Britain expelled, who had it happen, almost.

"So this is big and it deserves credit. The problem is that continuing disconnect, when toughness on the administration from the Pentagon and relative silence from the president. That still has to be explained, the president criticized his own leader more than Vladimir Putin. That speaks to a larger problem. This action is tough, it's decisive.

"The way it could go further as David said, is particularly for the United States and Britain to start seizing oligarchs' assets. That would really be tough action, because a lot of them are kept overseas, and that's something they'd have a tough time retaliating.

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