We apparently did not learn the lesson from the Magistsky Act mess. At least the senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, didn;t learn the lesson: Stop meddling! Instead he has doubled down on Russia in regards to the Snowden mess:
Republican senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News that Russia should “hold this fellow and send him back here for justice”.
“I don’t think he’s a hero, I believe he hurt our nation. He compromised the national security program designed to find out what terrorists were up to,” he said.
However, amid the backlash against Russia, politicians and others also rounded on the Obama administration. Graham questioned why Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong in the first place. “I’d like to find out why our papers were not in compliance. That would be a big mistake by the Department of Justice,” he said.
“We are exploring what are the leverage points. I’m trying to put together a package to let the Russians know how serious we are,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The Daily Beast in an interview. “We have to respond, this is a defining moment in the relationship.”
Graham declined to elaborate on what his “package” of items to pressure Russia might include. For some Republicans, such as Graham and his cohort Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Putin’s handling of the Snowden issue is only the latest sign that Russia is backsliding when it comes to democracy and the rule of law.
Let’s review: (And by the way this column is not an endorsement of Snowden or what he did. I’ll keep an open mind on that one. He did break important laws that generally should not be broken but I do believe it was to do what he thought was right at great personal risk)
The US government passed this potentially unconstitutional bill of attainder called the Magnitsky Act that singled out individuals for alleged human rights violations and also attempted to punish Russia. Now I won’t defend Russia or its government. But this was done without any sort of a hearing and was gross meddling in the internal affairs of the Russian state.
So, President Putin and the Duma passed a law forbidding foreign adoptions of Russian children. Most Americans reacted as this column by Steven Kurlanger did: Blame Russia:
So when Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bill last Friday that was passed by the Russian Duma 400 to 4 banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, it infuriated me.
It should make you angry, too.
Putin and the Russian Parliament passed the law mainly as a punitive measure against the U.S. for our country’s recent move to ban travel and seize assets here of Russian human-rights violators.
I got angry too: But let’s put the blame where it belongs: On Russia for doing it AND US for meddling.
Here’s Graham again:
“This government has been corrupted. They don’t have a real legislature. All institutions of democracies have been diminished in Russia, and when people do that inside their country they are not generally inclined to follow the rule of law outside their country,” Graham said. “I’m just amazed that we don’t get what Putin’s up to. He’s trying to recreate the old Soviet Union attitude and image.”
Some might say, Senator Graham, that our legislature is little mnore responsive to its people than the Duma: Exhibit 1: Obamacare! And we have corruption, too. Graham is personally not corrupt but he wants to bully and fight other nations. It’s time for that primary opponent to emerge.