Over on the Atlantic magazine, a lying idiot named Conor Friedersdorf proposes a “thought experiment” in which he posits that the USA would give a Russian Snowden asylum if he appeared at JFK, so it can’t fault Russia for doing the same.
Mr. Friedersdorf’s intellectual dishonesty is truly breathtaking. It brands him as an extreme right-winger in the mold of lunatic freaks like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, fringe occupiers who lose no opportunity to rationalize, justify and embrace the homicidal Putin regime, which Jay Leno recently branded as behaving just like Nazi Germany. It is the likes of Buchanan, Paul and Friedersdorf who force Reagan conservatives to defend the likes of Barack Obama.
Mr. Friedersdorf’s “thought experiment” unfortunately doesn’t include asking how Russia would respond if the USA did offer a Russian Snowden political asylum, which is the only question that matters because it’s the question the USA is faced with: How to respond to the giving of asylum, not whether to give asylum itself.
WWRD? What would Russia do? Mr. Friedersdorf doesn’t care to ask, and that failure immediately and totally discredits him.
It’s perfectly clear that if Russia were in America’s shoes, it would do exactly what America is doing – times ten. It would, in other words, actively look for any and all possible means to sanction the USA. A good example is the Magnitsky Law. When the U.S. Congress passed a law barring Russian human rights offenders from US shores, Russia immediately responded with its own version of the law, identifying Americans for exclusion.
It’s totally outrageous that Mr. Friedersdorf doesn’t pause even for a second to consider this. Were he to do so, of course, his entire “thought experiment” would collapse like the house of cards that it is.
And that’s not the only glaring defect in Mr. Friedersdorf’s “analysis.” He completely ignores the public statements of the Obama administration that the USA has repeatedly returned wanted Russian criminals to Russia upon request. The meaning, in diplomaticspeak, of these statements, which Obama repeated recently on the Jay Leno show, is apparently lost on Mr. Friedersdorf: Obama was saying that he would, in fact, return a Russian Snowden to Russia.
It’s also clear that if the USA did give asylum to a Russian Snowden, Russia would not hesitate to kill him. That is what happened to KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko, who was assassinated by the Kremlin in London shortly after publishing reports that the KGB had been responsible for blowing up apartment buildings in Moscow in order to create artificial support for Putin’s bloody war in Chechnya. So presumably, now that Russia has given Snowden asylum, Mr. Friedersdorf agrees that this is the course the USA should follow.
If Mr. Friedersdorf were not so utterly, totally ignorant of Russia and so wholly unqualified to pontificate about U.S. policy towards it, he would surely have mentioned Chechen leader Ilyas Akhmadov, someone to whom the USA actually did give asylum in 2004. The Department of Homeland Security rejected Akhmadov’s bid in 2002 when it was made, but he then challenged the denial in court and won. The Kremlin did not hesitate in firing off this argument at the US in defense of its decision to give asylum to Snowden. In doing so, the Kremlin — just like Mr. Friedersdof — totally ignores the many other cases in which wanted Russians were handed over, just as it ignores that elected US officials did not support granting asylum.
But in fact Mr. Friedersdorf’s ignorance of Russia probably saved him even more embarrassment when he omitted relying on Akhmadov’s case, because upon perusal it doesn’t bear the remotest similarity to Snowden. You see, Akhmadov was serving as the Foreign Minister of Chechnya when Putin used the Moscow bombings, carried out by the KGB, to justify a massive invasion to depose the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov. The respected Anne Applebaum has said he was serving an “elected, moderate, separatist Chechen government.”
Far from being a terrorist, Akhmadov repeatedly and publicly condemned all acts of terrorism by Chechen separatists. Russia called Akhmadov a terrorist and sought to extradite him because he toured Western capitals calling for the observance of basic human rights by Russian forces in Chechnya, forces which have been repeatedly convicted by the European Court for Human Rights of state-sponsored murder, torture and kidnapping throughout Chechnya. The American judge who heard Akhmadov’s case ruled that he would, if returned to Russia, probably be “shot without being afforded the opportunity to defend himself in a trial, as has happened to other members of the Chechen government.” No Russian court has made or will make any such finding as to Snowden, and even if one did the entire world knows that Russian courts are an absolute sham, their strings pulled by the Kremlin with shameless impunity.
So Mr. Friedersdorf’s commentary is empty, vapid, propaganda and in no way deserving of the moniker “thought experiment” that he tries to claim. It’s an absolute betrayal of the basic ideals espoused by Ronald Reagan, and ought to be rejected by any and every mainstream conservative.