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Embassy's Reply to the Article by Bill Constantine “Envoy not being diplomatic or gentlemanly” (Pretoria News, 14 April 2021)

Dear Mr.Constantine,


We took note of your letter to editor published in Pretoria News on 14 April 2021 “Envoy not being diplomatic or gentlemanly”. First of all, thank you for your interest in «Alternative Viewpoint» series and for your feedback. Your observations allow us to discuss some of the issues that were not mentioned in the entries themselves.

We understand that you are dissatisfied with our analysis provided in the latest article. Nonetheless, it is with pleasure that we got from your letter to editor that we nonetheless agree on our article’s very essence - that interventions and use of force are integral parts of Washington’s foreign policy, if US military interventions weren’t so “costly” Washington would just carry on with them, US interventions (military or not) have nothing to do with democracy because “promoting democracy” serves as a mere smokescreen to call those interventions “well intentioned”. In your letter you haven’t refuted any of the aforesaid.

With all sincerity, we would rather write about something else. For example, about Russia and US working together on something that would benefit the world. In the area of space exploration, let’s say. However, Washington’s course on comprehensive confrontation with Moscow deprives us of this opportunity. Speaking of space exploration, on 12 April we celebrated the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight to outer space. US Department of State “celebrated” too. By publishing a post in Facebook with congratulations on Human Space Flight Day…without even mentioning Yuri Gagarin’s name. Instead, it attached a photo of a US astronaut. Technically, it is not a violation of diplomatic protocol or anything of the kind but it doesn’t make it less cheapish and hardly worthy of praising. By contrast, we mentioned the joint USSR-US Soyuz-Apollo mission, “handshake in space” in our article. Maybe US Department of State was guided by logic that USSR’s legacy can be treated every which way because the Soviet Union is gone? If that’s the case, then what is this if not “beating a dead horse”, as you put it?

As we said, we would rather talk about something positive developing in Russia-US relations but, unfortunately, it’s hardly possible right now. What we can do, however, is to inject positive energy into them ourselves, to the extent of our ability. We took note of your title, USAF Brigade General. If you happen to be in Pretoria on 9 May 2021, we would like to avail ourselves of this opportunity to invite you to Embassy’s function dedicated to the 76th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Let’s pay tribute to our war heroes and to those days when USSR and USA fought together and defeated the evil of Nazism. Please consider this as your invitation.

When it comes to Russia, Washington has abandoned politeness and gentlemanhood long ago. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already said that the West seems to have forgotten how to use diplomacy and we are definitely going to talk about it later in “Alternative Viewpoint”. We believe that such perception did not appear out of the blue. Even Henry Kissinger, prominent US diplomat, wondered in one of his books whether the US needs a foreign policy at all as its dominance seemed to last forever. Looks like US got used to that idea too much. In the official US documents Russia is labeled as “adversary”. In 1983, the then US President Ronald Reagan called our country the “Evil Empire”, senator John McCain said that “Russia is, more or less, a giant gas station pretending to be a real country”. And, of course, the latest example - incumbent US President Joseph Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer”. These are not ambassadors, mind you, these are Presidents and a candidate for Presidency of the United States. What is your take on that, Mr.Constantine? Does it “cast a shadow on long-standing traditions of honour, respect and fair play practiced by members of the diplomatic community” and beyond it? If your answer is yes, would you write a letter to editor, or, perhaps, an article, on that as well? No? Then we will.


Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of South Africa

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