Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is furious that Moscow will not deliver NSA leaker Edward Snowden to the US to face treason and espionage charges. Graham no doubt misses the irony that what Snowden revealed was that the US government has been operating like the old Soviet Union and East Germany rolled into one and given a heavy dose of steroids.
Graham demands punishment for behavior that, had it been 25 years ago and a Soviet dissident rather than an American whistleblower, he likely would have praised. Well, maybe...
Senator Graham’s CNN interview on Russia and Snowden last week was an absolutely Khrushchevian performance. Here are just a few samples:
"What does Russia have to do before we push back?.... I want a policy that gets Russia's attention... Is Russia Iran? No, but they are headed in that direction.... Russia is up to no good all over the planet.... I want to change Russian behavior..."In the interview, Graham is outraged over the weapons Russia has sold to the Syrian government. These weapons are destabilizing, he repeats. Strangely, he is silent about the US-faciliated massive transfer of weapons to al-Qaeda's allies in Syria fighting to overthrow that government.
Graham's latest big idea to punish Russia, after last week’s demand that the US boycott the coming winter Olympic games was laughed down, is to impose economic sanctions. And he has introduced legislation in the Senate that would do just that. His bill would impose sanctions on any country that helps Snowden avoid extradition to the United States. This time, however, he is getting some traction. According to press reports, Graham's sanctions language was approved unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee as an amendment to next year’s $50.6 billion diplomacy and international aid bill. Diplomacy, neocon style!