Thursday, December 27, 2012

American arrogance leads to tit for tat

American legislators passed legislation, with Obama signing, determined to punish those in Russia that they deem violators of human rights. In response Russia passes legislation, apparently Putin will sign, that denies adoption rights to US citizens. [Defiant Putin to sign anti-US adoption bill].

The US law called the Magnitsky Act "is directed specifically at Russian officials suspected of being responsible for the prison death of the financier Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, but it also contains US visa and financial sanctions against all Russian officials allegedly guilty of 'gross violations of human rights.' " [Magnitsky Act: Another US provocation against Russia].

And who is it in Russia to be punished? Well it comes from a list submitted by the Secretary of State of persons  that it determines "is responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky"  or "is responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals . . . ." [See full text at Full Text of S. 1039: Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.]

The Russian law in retaliation bans adoption of Russian children by US citizens and "impose[s] sanctions on American judges and others accused of violating the rights of adopted Russian children in the United States." [Russian Measure Banning Adoptions by American Citizens Is Sent to Putin - NYTimes.com].

Nothing good can come from the US attempts to interfere in the affairs of the Russian government, and vice versa. Moreover, the US hasn't clean hands on the issue of torture and violation of human rights. This from Russian President Putin:
“At Guantanamo, they keep people in prison for years without any charges. People there go around in shackles, like in medieval times”.
One wonders why there is such a need to adopt Russian children. The US has "more than 100,000 children and youth [that] are in need of permanent adoptive families." This doesn't include all children in foster care. [I Care About Orphans]. The New York Times alleges that child advocates have estimates in Russia of  "120,000 children eligible for adoption."

The NY Times also notes, without specifically so stating, that Russian law has some merit in that "[a] number of cases involving the abuse or even deaths of adopted Russian children in recent years have generated publicity and outrage in Russia, including a case in which a 7-year-old boy was sent on a flight back to Russia alone by his adoptive mother in Tennessee."  See too Russian Orphans in U.S.: When Adopted Kids Can't Adapt.

So what was gained by the US's attempt to interfere in Russian affairs? Legislation that sounds good on paper. Ironically the Russian people may have gained by the US misguided interference in that it may result in making it easier for Russian citizens to adopt.

Tit for tat - is this anyway to solve problems? There are too many global issues of import that need the cooperation of the US with the large nations like Russia and China. Like or not the US cannot go it alone.

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