Okay, will everybody please just calm down?
Yes, they arrested some people they think are spies, and yes there are spies in America, just as there are American spies all over the world. But, really people? These are the spies you string up in the public square? People who are surreptitiously going to think tank talks? And trying to decipher broad policy positions they could glean from top-secret sources like Politico? And giving out fake addresses like 99 Fake Street?
Linger on that one for a while.
So anyway, what could they have possibly learned that anyone in Moscow with an internet connection — or a Russian journalist in Washington — couldn’t have learned? Why the elaborate computer-to-computer wifi networks? Why the brushes, the Canadian passports? It’s just so…ridiculous.
And can we all stop calling Anna Chapman hot? It’s a little weird, and round-peg-square-hole attempt to invoke more lame spy cliches, and, well, she’s just not that hot.
But I digress.
I wrote about this — or at least the Russian reaction to their spies (or Clouseaus) getting caught — for The Daily Beast, but what I really want to emphasize is the remarkable reaction on both sides.
A few years ago, this would have provoked angry rhetoric on both sides, people getting kicked out of both countries, a ratcheting up of the spite factor. This time, with both Russia and America having reaped so many delicious candies from the detente, the two sides are running from any signs of confrontation. Obama responds to a question about the spies with a curt “Thank you” and scuttles off the podium. Even Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, from whom everyone expected a snarl, was shockingly relaxed and measured about the whole thing. “Your police have gotten carried away, putting people in jail,” he said, and then weaved away from the fire, adding, “I really expect that the positive achievements that have been made in our intergovernmental relations lately will not be damaged by the latest events.”
People, this is huge. This is good.
via The Daily Beast