Friday, December 13, 2019

Russia - A State Sponsor of Terrorism?

Since just before voting day in November 2016, Washington has adopted the narrative that the Russians are to blame for pretty much everything in the world that is wrong.  While this narrative existed after the so-called annexation of Crimea after the uprising in Ukraine, it really took root when the contents of Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server were released to the public, a reality that pretty much torched her chances of residing in the Oval Office.  Recent moves by the United States Senate show that the anti-Russia mantra is alive and well and actually growing by the day.

While American voters are distracted by the House impeachment proceedings, here is what the Senate has been up to:

Bill S.1189 also known as the Stop Maligning Activities from Russian Terrorism Act (or SMART - who thinks of these names that make such clever acronyms?) was introduced on December 11, 2019 by Senator Corry Gardner (R-CO) and has been sent to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations where it is ordered to be reported with an amendment favourably.  The bill was cosponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) showing that both sides of the Senate can cooperate when it comes to anti-Russian issues.

The Bill requires that the Secretary of State give "appropriate congressional committees" (i.e the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the House) an answer to two questions:

1.) whether the Russian Federation meets the criteria to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. 

2.) whether the armed entities (i.e. militias) in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in the far east of Ukraine that are allegedly controlled by the Russian Federation meet the criteria to be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.

According to the 2018 edition of the Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism, Iran remains the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism.  Here is State's list of offenders and the date of their designation as a state sponsor of terrorism:

To get on this list, the Secretary of State must have determined that the state has repeatedly provided support for acts of terrorism.  This results in the application of three laws:

1.) Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act

2.) Section 40 of the Arms Esport Control Act

3.) Section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act

The four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation as a state sponsor of terror include:

1.) restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance

2.) a ban on defense exports and sales

3.) controls over exports of dual use items

4.) miscellaneous financial and other restrictions

Under U.S. sanctions laws, the United States can also penalize persons or countries that would make the unwise choice of engaging in trade with states that are on the state sponsors of terrorism list.

If SMART is approved by the Senate, it sets the stage for even more sanctions against Russia and would result in penalties for any nation that dare to come between Washington's hatred for all things Russian and the Russian Federation.  Given that Russia has already taken significant steps that will allow it to work around Washington's sanctions regime and blunt their impact on the Russian economy, it's unclear what SMART will achieve other than adding more meaningless "icing" to Washington's anti-Russia "cake". 

So, is Russia going to be found to be a state sponsor of terror by the Department of State?  Given the current climate in Washington, I'm pretty certain that the answer will. be to the affirmative.


  1. You know, I think that evetually the rest of the world is going to get a bit tired of unilateral US sanctions and tariffs.

    Still, US foreign policy has achieved great things; an Islamic republic is Iran, a close alliance between China and Russia, the expansionagriculture in Afghanintan (yes, I know it is mainly opium but consider what it has done for rural standards of living), closer economic and cultural ties between Iran and Iraq, improvements in Russian agricultural production, reduced depend on the US dollar as a reserve currency, and I could go on.

    The Russian economic ministries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must be working on how to capitalize on this nice gesture from the USA. It is such a nice Christmas present.

  2. The sanctions have protected large segments of the Russian economy from competition from European and American companies, and the Russians have prospered. Some sanctions, like those on Russian gas and oil simply cannot be obeyed by any partly patriotic Euro government. But even without gas and oil, Russia runs trade surpluses. They also have little or no foreign debt and little government debt.

    The US has spent at least $5 trillion on pointless, unwinnable wars, while Russia and China have modernized their militaries and invested heavily in productive infrastructure.

    Thank you neocons.

  3. The technological genie is out of the bottle. Ultimately, China, Russia, Iran and satellites can insulate themselves against US, financially, economically, and militarily. And then go on offensive in Africa, ME, and other parts of the world...
    The legalese and the stamp of the US Senate doesn't mean that much any longer. Just the official recognition that US is a thug

  4. One of the things we often forget is that many Americans don't really know very much about Russia or the Russian people. Most of what they have been told has been filtered through a national security apparatus so entrenched in a cold war mindset they appear paranoid. It is clear the warmongering faction residing within Washington has declared Russia a major threat and sparked massive media coverage to convince us it is true.

    The myth of Russia's strength has been amplified by journalists seeking to routinely curry favor with government sources and others by falsely hyping the official point of view. The fact is Russia's economy is rather small and while over the years they produce and export a lot of weapons their military is not well funded. More on Russia today in the article below.