Categorized | News, Opinion


When Ron Paul ran for President, many laughed or scorned him when he suggested that unnecessary intervention in other nations’ business.   We do many things that have consequences for us.  Maybe we’ll learn one day:  Non-intervention is best!  But not December 2012 apparently – as the Russian adoption flap shows.

The Russian adoption law recently passed and signed by President Putin.  Here are several news stories about this law – from first the Huffington Post:

President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, abruptly terminating the prospects for more than 50 youngsters preparing to join new families and sparking critics to liken him to King Herod.

The move is part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators. Although some top Russian officials including the foreign minister openly opposed the bill, Putin signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it from Parliament, where it passed both houses overwhelmingly.

The Russian measure also bars any political activities by nongovernmental organizations receiving funding from the United States, if such activities could affect Russian interests, Russia’s semiofficial RIA-Novosti news agency said.

And CNN:

And it imposes sanctions against U.S. officials thought to have violated human rights.

The law envisions the drafting of a list of U.S. citizens who will be prohibited from entering Russia, and will suspend the activity of any legal entities controlled by them in the country.

And our lawmakers are mad!  But mad at Russia!

In a statement, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called the ban “shameful and appalling.”

“The effects of this legislation are cruel and malicious,” Mr. McCain said, adding, “To punish innocent babies and children over a political disagreement between our governments is a new low, even for Putin’s Russia.”

Mr. McCain was a leading supporter of the American law targeting human rights violators in Russia. That law is named for Sergei L. Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who tried to expose government tax fraud but was arrested and died in prison in 2009 after purportedly being denied proper medical care.

Here‘s two other angry GOP lawmakers!

I am incredibly saddened and outraged that Russia is using orphaned children who desperately need homes, especially the 46 who have already been paired with their adoptive American families, as political pawns,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged President Obama to strongly condemn the new law after Putin announced his intention to sign the bill.

But I suggest that the GOP senators ought to be angry at themselves.  Congress passed the so-called Magnitsky human rights law targeting Russia and individual Russians.  They meddled in something not their business.  Magnitsky was a matter internal to Russia.  I do not agree with or condone the Putin administration or what it does but this so-called human rights sanctions law does what sanctions often do:  Target innocents.  In this case, due to unintended consequences (“blowback”), it will be the innocent adoptive parents who will probably lose their beloved children.  I feel for them:  They are in my prayers.  But their anger ought to be placed where it belongs:  The US government for its unnecessary intervention into Russian internal affairs.  It must stop!

First, this ought to be an unconstitutional bill of attainder as it singles out individuals for punishment without a trial.  I have not researched the law on this issue as it realtes to foreigners but I would vote against any bill that singles out another, even a foreigner, for punishment without a trial.

The Magnitsky law bars individuals like Dr. Kratov, who have been accused of human rights abuses, from traveling to the United States or from owning property or other assets here.

What did the authors and supporters of this US bill thought Russia was going to do?  Nothing?  There is blowback to unnecessary intervention, in this case by Congress, and here is a great example of exactly that.  Maybe we’ll listen to the man who said on the campaign trail that “We just plain don’t mind our own business!”  I do not expect any apologies to Cong. Paul any time soon.  Here is the comment of Cong. Paul on this bill:

Statement opposing HR 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. 16 Nov 2012 Mr. Speaker I rise to strongly oppose this legislation. Unfortunately, Congress has ruined an opportunity to overturn an anachronistic impediment to free trade with Russia by attaching to it an interventionist and provocative “human rights” bill that will worsen US/Russia relations. With Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Congress is obligated to repeal the “Jackson-Vanik Amendment,” a 1974 era piece of legislation that sought to condition normal trade relations with the Soviet Union (which no longer exists) upon liberalization of emigration rules for Soviet Jews. WTO members are obliged to eliminate trade barriers with other members. So the repeal and extension of normal trade relations simply should have been a formality. Unfortunately Congress instead took this as an opportunity to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia, which will worsen US/Russian relations and have a negative economic impact on the United States.

My note to the broken-hearted adoptive parents is to tell Congress:  Repeal the Magnitsky Act and apologize to Russia for meddling in its internal business.  Maybe they’ll take reciprocal action to allow US adoptions again.


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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