The Real Winner of the Spy Swap

Yesterday marked the first exchange of spies between the United States and Russia since 1986, when the Cold War ended between them. Russia released four Russians spying for America in exchange for 10 Russian spies who were suddenly arrested by the U.S. on June 27. This so-called Russian-U.S. spy exchange is an eye-opening transaction. On the surface, it appears that Russia gained an upper hand by swapping four Western spies for 10 Russian ones. America, however, is the real winner. This exchange was carefully planned and arranged by the United States.

U.S. Gains Upper Hand in the Spy War

Right before the U.S. arrested the Russian spies, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had just visited the White House. Right after the mission to arrest the Russian spies was completed, former President Clinton immediately visited Russia and met with Russian Prime Minister Putin. Both plans were initiated by the U.S. in a seamless convergence. At the very moment Putin met Clinton, the Russian prime minister, based on his vast espionage experience, had already realized that Russia had lost again in the U.S.-Russia spy competition. Moreover, Russia lost completely by being totally puzzled and passive in the game. No wonder Putin said to Clinton, with a sense of humor, “You came to Moscow at a right time. Your police got out of control and grabbed some people. I really expect that the positive that has been accumulated in the recent time in our international relations will not suffer.” Putin addressed his American friend with a dignified tone.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, Russia has continued to cede its position of superiority; instead, it is in a defensive position. The power and influence of the CIA, on the other hand, has never diminished in the world — especially with regard to infiltration on Russian soil. All of this is reflected in the espionage activities of the two nations in terms of territory, space, exchange quantity and quality. All four Russian spies released by Russia are Russians; they were all planted by the U.S. inside Russia’s crucial departments as high-ranking officials or spies. They have been there for a long time, bringing in valuable information. The 10 Russian spies to be sent back to Russia are, by comparison, a small catch. They lived in the U.S. for some time, but as newcomers, they obtained little in the way of important intelligence. Moreover, their activities were constantly monitored by the CIA. The time to arrest them was to be determined by U.S. officials.

Discreet U.S.-Russia War Continues

This espionage incident occurred right in the middle of the mutual official visits of the two countries. The U.S. chose to arrest the Russian spies at this time, which reflected its real intention to embarrass Russia by using the smallest price — 10 unimportant Russian citizens — to obtain the return four high-ranking U.S. spies who possessed invaluable intelligence. The United States has a carefully calculated and safe plan, and it has proved to be successful in the years following the Cold War. The U.S.-Russia relationship eased from tension to bilateral development, but in reality, each country mistrusts the other and plays the espionage game. Due to its economic, political and military power, the U.S. continues to have an upper hand in the espionage competition. However, on the international arena, America does not have an advantage in terms of power and regional politics. In recent years, Russia has made the U.S. feel uncomfortable on the issues of NATO expansion, sanctions against Iran, North Korean aggression and the recent South Korean Cheonan incident. The U.S. is looking for an opportunity to teach Russia a lesson.

The opportunity finally arrived. The United States chose to act unexpectedly at a time when the relationship between the two nations was warming up, and such a move has had a stunning effect. According to the latest information, Obama already knew and approved the arrest of the Russian spies two weeks before President Medvedev visited the White House. The 10 spies were a small chip to play. Obama and the CIA performed their play in a discreet way, and Medvedev was completely in the dark. As soon as Medvedev left, and before Clinton went to Russia, the U.S. immediately arrested the Russian spies. Not only was Russia forced to release the four U.S. spies, the U.S. also gained the upper hand in future U.S.-Russia diplomatic relationships by being pro-active. At the same time, under the world’s close watch, America protected the U.S.-Russian relationship by granting “face” to Russia. Hence, the U.S. is the ultimate winner in this espionage event. Russia can only silently swallow this bitter fruit. From this incident, it can be noticed that the U.S. has never stopped using aggression in order to become the world’s leader. Cuts in the military budget, a withdrawal from Afghanistan and nuclear disarmament are all smoke screens created by the United States. The U.S. may have found a way for the whole world to win in this peaceful era and preserve its arrogance and self-confidence. It is a cunning opponent, and both Russia and the world have to be vigilant.

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