A former analyst for the National Security Agency warned that Russia's order to cut 755 employees from the U.S. embassy signaled the start of a new Cold War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the personnel cuts in retaliation for a sanctions bill overwhelming passed by the U.S. Congress, and former NSA analyst John Schindler said both President Donald Trump and the Republican Party should be concerned by this new development.
"Only six months into his presidency, Moscow has assessed that Trump is a naif, an incompetent weakling who cannot deliver what Russia needs," Schindler wrote. "He is therefore expendable."
He said Russia hoped to unleash chaos in the U.S. by helping elect Trump, as intelligence services have assessed, but Schindler said Putin is happy to sit back and "watch the unfolding mess" consume American politics.
Schindler suggested that Russia might reveal compromising information about Trump to help undo his presidency and damage the Republican Party, which could usher in further chaos.
"Now that Trump is expendable to Moscow, he ought to worry that leaks unflattering to him and his entourage may go public," Schindler wrote. "We know that Russian hackers pillaged Republicans as well as Democrats in 2016, while only the latter have been disseminated by Kremlin fronts. Not to mention Trump’s decades of shadowy financial dealings with Russian oligarchs, which the Kremlin surely knows all about. Putin is biding his time and, right now, he’s holding most of the important cards. He may ultimately decide Trump’s political fate, which now resides in Moscow’s hands."