File photo: AFP
The Trump administration on Thursday ordered the closure of Russia's consulate in San Francisco and two other facilities, which is a clear move of retaliation.
In July, Russia had ordered the US to remove 775 people from its diplomatic facilities in Russia. The game of sanctions and retaliations between Russia and the US has continued, despite the change in US president. However, they have also maintained such exchanges to a manageable level.
The latest move by the White House also shows that it wants to clear itself from previous accusations of collusion with Russia. US media have enthusiastically speculated on Russia interfering with US elections, defaming Hillary Clinton to give Trump a boost. Trump in return said Democrats had conspired with Russians, and this time proved he is tough on Russia.
However, the rift between Russia and the US has not become wider, neither will it be closer. They are just moving on their respective tracks. Russia had attempted many times to fit itself on the same track as the West, but in vain. The situation since the end of the Cold War once again proved that Russia could only move on its own route, as it is excluded by the Western model.
There are religious factors for the West's rejection of Russia, and the sheer size of Russia and its deep-seated culture inevitably create fear in the West of being changed by it rather than changing it. The US refuses to give Russia the dignity in its conception of Europe and the world, while Russia also won't become a follower of the West. The West could only homogenize Russia if the country is split, and Russia may be able to "incorporate" countries on the fringe if the West becomes incompact.
The abundant supply of commodities in Russia's shops demonstrates the futility of sanctions. For an expansive country that is not completely incorporated in the global industrial chain, sanctions seem no more than a political stance.
Some US media have tried to create the impression that Russia caused the problems in the US. However, the truth is the political decline and split in public opinion in the US makes Russia look stronger.
Another truth is that Western civilization has not found a way to coexist with other cultures. However, the rift between the US and Russia can no longer attract much attention. As US influence declines, their rift has been reduced to merely one of the problems in a multi-polar world. Even some European countries no longer keep exactly in step with the US.
China and other emerging countries have changed the world's power structure, which is no longer dominated by only two powers. The new global structure hampers the US-Russia rift and serves as a stabilizer.