Bang! Bang! You're Out!

Washington and Moscow fight a war of diplomatic attrition

Instead of missiles, dirty dishes were involved in the latest escalation of superpower tensions; in place of nuclear warheads, maids and chauffeurs were targets of a zero option. But last week's rapid-fire sequence of diplomatic expulsions from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, culminating in Soviet withdrawal of all service workers who labored for American diplomats in Moscow and Leningrad, was more than just a game of squeeze-the-embassy -- even though it did conjure up a slapstick picture of striped-pants diplomats mopping floors. For one thing, the U.S. moves involved the deadly serious subject of Soviet espionage. Also, the events...

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