Reuters: Moscow says 27 more Russian diplomats due to leave U.S. in January

Russia’s ambassador to the United States said that 27 more Russian diplomats and their families were expelled from the United States and would leave on Jan. 30…

President Joe Biden’s administration said last month that the staff of the U.S. mission in Russia had shrunk to 120 from 1,200 in early 2017 after a series of expulsions and restrictions, and it was difficult to continue with anything other than a caretaker presence at the embassy.

ACURA ViewPoint: David C. Speedie: On Putin’s Red Lines

A classic definition of the difference between a politician and a statesman is that, in disagreements with other nations, the latter can understand the position of the other side.  This being essential to diplomatic engagement, the speech given by President Putin on November 18 to foreign policy elites in Moscow deserves close attention; indeed, it may be described as an elegy for constructive U.S.-Russia relations.

The tone of President Putin’s presentation was as important as the content: overall, he spoke more in sorrow than in anger [though he did betray a degree of exasperation when speaking of NATO’s expulsion of Russian diplomats].  There was moreover a regret at “missed opportunities” throughout, along with a measured reflection on current stresses in the relationship that contrasts with the hectoring and lecturing approach to Russia from Washington.

ACURA’s Anatol Lieven: What war with Russia over Ukraine would really look like

Recent days have seen a new flurry of Western media reports that U.S. intelligence believes that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine early in the new year. These reports have already led to warnings by NATO and Washington that Russia would pay a heavy economic and political price in the event of a war.

Russia, for its part, has denied the dire nature of the reports, blaming “a targeted information campaign,” according to Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, on Monday. “This is building up tension.”

Nevertheless, this should also lead to a determined and sincere new effort by the United States and leading European governments to find a reasonable compromise with Russia over the Ukrainian disputes.

Ted Galen Carpenter: NATO Arms Sales to Ukraine: the Spark That Starts a War with Russia?

The United States and its NATO allies are busily arming Ukraine and engaging in other actions that encourage the leaders in Kiev to believe that they have strong Western backing in their confrontation with Russia and Russian‐​backed separatists.

Daniel Larison: Anne Applebaum is peddling a democracy trope that no one is buying

She writes, “If Americans don’t help to hold murderous regimes to account, those regimes will retain their sense of impunity.” This is true, but it applies most of all to those governments that the U.S. arms and supports. The authoritarian governments that the U.S. has the most influence over are the ones that Applebaum ignores.

AXIOS: The media’s epic fail

A reckoning is hitting news organizations for years-old coverage of the 2017 Steele dossier, after the document’s primary source was charged with lying to the FBI.

Why it matters: It’s one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history, and the media’s response to its own mistakes has so far been tepid.

Outsized coverage of the unvetted document drove a media frenzy at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency that helped drive a narrative of collusion between former President Trump and Russia.

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