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4 Jan, 2021 12:26

Not tonight, Mike! Moscow mocks Pompeo, comparing him to Napoleon after bizarre ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ tweet salvo

Not tonight, Mike! Moscow mocks Pompeo, comparing him to Napoleon after bizarre ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ tweet salvo

Throughout its long history, Russia has faced a variety of tough challenges – including wars, famines and revolutions – but now, according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his boss Donald Trump may be added to that list.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday to defend the American president’s record on foreign policy, Washington’s most senior diplomat insisted that “no administration has been as tough on Russia as we have. Period. Full stop.” This, he said, was an example of the administration “#LeadingFromTheFront.”

Despite Pompeo’s desire for clarity on the punctuation, the message appears to have been lost in translation in Moscow, with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly congratulating its American counterparts on the sentiment. “Way to go, tough guys,” officials tweeted back. Along with the message were Pompeo’s words, superimposed over a painting of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. The Frenchman’s 1812 campaign to subjugate the country saw more than half a million of his men shot or frozen to death as they left with their tails between their legs.

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As if the imagery required any explanation, a lawmaker from the pro-Putin ‘United Russia’ party issued a more sincere rebuke on Monday. State Duma deputy Ruslan Balbek, speaking exclusively to RT, rubbished the claims. “Yes, it’s true that this US administration surpassed its predecessors in the sanctions race,” he said. “But did that produce any results? This has not affected Russia’s positions on national interests in any way, and there is also now no way to improve relations between our countries.”

Since taking office, Trump’s administration has pursued a policy of political and social alienation when it comes to ties with Moscow, introducing packages of sanctions designed to hit the country’s finance, energy and military sectors. However, it hasn’t stopped there, and has sought to expand them to countries or to companies that have anything to do with Russia.

Germany, for example, has resisted an onslaught of economic measures from Washington, aimed at EU-based companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. While the US claims that the project poses a “threat” to the continent, Berlin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas has lashed out at attempts to push out firms working on the project, insisting that “European energy policy is done in Europe and not in Washington. We clearly reject extraterritorial sanctions.”

At times, Trump has been seen as more ambivalent towards Russia, with Pompeo instead leading the charge on his behalf. The administration’s most senior foreign policy official has been eager to point the finger at Russia for a range of world conflicts, as well as saying a recent alleged hack of US government networks was “pretty clearly” down to Moscow.

The Secretary of State’s tweet, and his view that being ‘tough’ on Russia equates to being effective, will do little to change his record in his last few days in office. However, while New York, on the American East Coast, is known as “the city so good they named it twice,” Pompeo’s insistence on referring to “Russia, Russia, Russia” in his tweet could be seen to give the country an edge over the Big Apple.

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