Lindsey Graham took little time in reacting to the news that Edward Snowden has been allowed to enter Russia technically and officially, and will be granted asylum for a year:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement today on the reports that Russia has granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum.
“If these reports are accurate, Americans in Washington should consider this a game changer in our relationship with Russia. Mr. Snowden has been charged with serious crimes and has put American lives at risk at home and abroad.
“Today’s action by the Russian government could not be more provocative and is a sign of Vladimir Putin’s clear lack of respect for President Obama. It is now time for Congress, hopefully in conjunction with the Administration, to make it clear to the Russian government that this provocative step in granting Snowden asylum will be met with a firm response.”
Basically, Putin has just flipped a gigantic bird at the United States. He has shown a gross disrespect for the United States and its laws, protecting Snowden from prosecution on charges of doing things for which — and here’s the ironic part — were a Russian citizen to do them to his country, Putin would put him under Lubyanka Square.
So, what do we do about it? For his part, Sen. Graham has suggested that we consider boycotting the winter Olympics to show our displeasure. Some have reacted as though that were crazy talk. I don’t know why. Jimmy Carter kept us out of the real Olympics in 1980 to protest the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan.
But it doesn’t seem to me the best response to this situation. Right off, it would seem to accept the fact that we’re not getting this mutt back before February 2014, because that’s when the games are. On the other hand, if we got him back before then, we could then go ahead to the Olympics.
There must be a better approach, but I don’t know what it is. What does Putin want that we could deny him without hurting our own interests further? Someone must know.