Let’s Aim Sanctions Somewhere Other Than at Our Feet
There is a great deal of current DC fervor to sanction the daylight out of Saudi Arabia. In response to the kingdom’s alleged assassination of alleged reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
I say “alleged reporter” - because Khashoggi ran for decades with some really bad Muslims.
I’m just saying Khashoggi may have been less journalist - more jihadist.
I say “alleged assassination” - because we don’t yet know for sure if Saudi Arabia did it. (Though it is looking increasingly likely.)
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) - is from all appearances effecting incremental reforms toward modernity. Because incremental is all the Kingdom will take.
Damaging Islamist outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood - has to be a part of that process. And this is the Arab World - they do things a little less daintily than do we.
God bless Lindsey Graham for what he did in defense of Reality and Brett Kavanaugh. But he has an awful track record of looking at comparatively moderate Muslims and whacked-out Islamists - and siding with the Islamists.
Except Syria’s Bashar Assad - is a comparative moderate whose only real opposition is…ISIS.
Toppling Assad - will result in a monster Islamist mess. Very similar to the monster Islamist messes we created - when we dumped comparative moderates Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
At some point you’d hope DC would learn - we aren’t playing Risk. This isn’t a board game. It’s real life - with really awful consequences when we blithely topple other countries’ rulers.
President Donald Trump’s responses to DC’s knee-jerk, fact-free howls - have been dead on accurate:
“‘I think we have to find out what happened first,’ Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned.’”
President Trump’s been great not just on the rush to judgement - but also on the sanctions:
“‘Well, I think that would be hurting us. We have jobs. We have a lot of things happening in this country. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before,’ Trump said.
“‘Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems, and everybody is wanting them, and frankly I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country. I mean, you’re affecting us.’”
It’s a big old world out there. Think Saudi Arabia will be at a loss for replacement sellers of weapons - were we to halt ours? The answer to that question is: “The arms-sales line forms at Riyadh.”
President Trump is exactly correct. The people we would most acutely be hurting - is ourselves.
Speaking of shooting ourselves in both feet with sanctions:
Thanks to two-plus years of pronounced Media-Left “Trump Collusion” nonsense - when we hear “election meddling”…our minds immediately leap to Russia. Yes, they meddled. So did China. So did lots of countries. Many countries always have.
But thanks to two-plus years of pronounced Media-Left “Trump Collusion” nonsense - Russia is DC’s primary target.
Except as is often the case - DC tries to take aim at something…and ends up blowing holes in our lowest extremities.
“One of these proposals, the Defending American Security From Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA), sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would prove especially harmful to domestic business by imposing an overly broad set of sanctions.
“The DASKAA, while intended to deter future Russian meddling, would actually cause international oil and gas supply chains to be disrupted. This could mean increased oil prices, possible oil shortages, and supply chain issues that trickle down to higher costs for American consumers.
“These new sanctions would also force American companies to exit joint projects within Russia, resulting in negative impacts on both U.S. energy firms and domestic employment. By sanctioning Russian energy and financial entities, there would also be adverse impacts on worldwide financial markets, as converting the U.S. dollar to other currencies would become more difficult, causing severe ramifications throughout the international financial community.
“In addition to sanctioning Russian energy and financial firms, the DASKAA also targets the issuing of new Russian sovereign debt. Sovereign debt, also known as money a country borrows through selling bonds, is already issued by the Russian government all over the world, and is used heavily in contracts and hedging instruments.
“These sanctions could affect the value of these instruments, negatively impacting industries outside of financial markets.
“These sanctions could lead to a selloff in markets not tied strongly to the U.S., causing volatility and decreasing demand for Russian debt in foreign exchanges. There are also international relationships at stake, as actions by the U.S. could push nations that already disregard U.S. sanctions into a closer relationship. Conceivably, China and Iran could consequently develop stronger relationships with Russia, further endangering American election security through a united front by rogue nations.”
Senator Graham’s DASKAA proposal is a whole lot of punishment of…US and much of the rest of the world.
Tons and tons of collateral damage - inflicted while trying to punish Russia.
There are plenty of ways to surgically target Russia - and only Russia.
DASKAA - is a shotgun. Shot from great distance. With little aim - and even less accuracy.
Congress should instead craft a legislative rifle - and site it much carefully than this.
Our feet could use a break.
This first appeared in Red State.