What is behind this? It's purely symbolic, supposedly in response to Russia's hacking and meddling ways, as if a whole country should be held responsible for the alleged actions of a few or even one, and without a shred of evidence that this is due to encouragement or support from the top. Even if it were, why should a country be blamed for the malice of its leaders?.
TThe leadership now has a scapegoat to rile up the population.
here's no thought here put into the results (beyond scoring domestic political points).
No one really believes that Vladimir Putin is going to say or think: "True, I did a bad thing but now I see that the United States means business and is punishing my country. In light of this, I really must amend my ways, sin no more, and avoid the near occasions of sin."
Sorry, Not Sorry
No, that's not going to happen. What happens instead is that foreigners lose some measure of access to some part of another country's culture. That means isolating a country, on the margin, and reducing the flow of information and commerce in and out. The leadership now has a scapegoat to rile up the population. Cuba, North Korea, and Iran illustrate this – and the pathetic results – precisely.