It’s a snowy Sunday afternoon in the bustling cobblestone city square of an English cathedral town. People huddle as they shuffle from one shop to the next. A man and his daughter stroll into a pub, then walk to a nearby restaurant for a meal. For a moment, life continues as usual. For a moment, this quiet town is quaint. After their meal, the man and his daughter sit on a bench.
Suddenly, they’re slumped over. On closer look, the woman is foaming at the mouth. Her eyes are pale. And she’s lost control of her bodily functions. A doctor, who’d been shopping nearby with her husband, takes a look at the two zombie-like people. It’s the first infection.
We’ve seen it in plenty of zombie films: The infection metastasizes rabidly, eventually disrupting life on a global level. Only, in this case, the infection is not a disease that transforms people into zombies, instead, it’s diplomatic chaos that grows more virulent with each reaction.
Within an hour, the man, a former Russian spy, and his daughter had become catalysts to the re-ignition of the Cold War. It seemed clear that the Russians had been brazen. The man they’d poisoned --- a former double agent who had retired in England after being convicted of high treason by Russian courts --- was a British citizen. They’d done it on British soil. In a cozy English town.
British Prime Minister Theresa May was outraged. She unequivocally castigated the Russian government (which has continued to deny involvement) and expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country. The US followed suit, closing the Russian consulate general in Seattle and dispelling 60 diplomats. More than 20 countries dispelled Russian diplomats in an act of diplomatic unity with Britain in what is the largest expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.
Who knows what’s next?
Yesterday, the Russians followed through on their threats and ousted 60 American diplomats. In a press conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "Russia’s response was not unanticipated, and the United States will deal with it.”
This is political upheaval on a global scale --- played out like a game of checkers. Who knows what’s next? It’s taking place around us, like murder in broad daylight.