DASKA: Lindsey Graham’s Kremlin Sanctions Bill Draws Fire In South Carolina

Is America’s neoconservative warmonger overstepping the mark in his new Cold War with Russia?

It’s been hard to miss the big ads blaring at the top of this website urging South Carolinians to call their senior U.S. senator Lindsey Graham and tell him to “fix DASKA.” What is DASKA, though? We honestly had no idea before we clicked on the ads. Apparently it is a bill (S. 482) introduced by Graham with the stated intention of strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), combatting international cybercrime and imposing additional economic sanctions on Russia.

You know … for “meddling.”

The bill gets its name from the acronym “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression.”

Which is … subtle.

Obviously this news outlet has no love for NATO. And a long history of rebuking the Russophobia spouted by American neoconservatives, among whom Graham is the spouter-in-chief. We have also long-rebuked American meddling in Russia’s back yard – which is the impetus for the alleged “Kremlin aggression” Graham is trying so zealously to contain.

But is the bill in question a good bill? Or, as the advertisements suggest, does it need to be fixed?

We clicked on the “fix DASKA” banner ad and were taken to a blog post by David Hucks of Myrtle Beach, S.C. – a writer who has been very critical of our news outlet in the past.

According to Hucks, DASKA would “impose new sanctions on Russia” as part of an attempt to “target Russian entities such as banks and the country’s oil and gas sector.”

“What it would really does is punish U.S. businesses, not the Kremlin,” he wrote.

Hucks specifically referenced adverse consequences for crony capitalist aerospace engineering firm Boeing, which has been on the ropes in recent months following the grounding of its 737 Max jet.

“If Boeing is forced out of Russia, it could also drive out of  business many of the nearly 300 South Carolina firms among its venders and suppliers, part of the world’s largest supply chain,” Hucks wrote. “That would be unfortunate news for the dynamic aerospace sector Boeing helped create in South Carolina, which now pours nearly $20 billion into the state’s economy each year.”

As far as we are concerned, Boeing can sink or swim. The company has received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of subsidies from Palmetto State taxpayers … with the politicians who doled out this largesse receiving the benefit.

Our only interest in Boeing? Protecting taxpayers from getting ripped off again …

Hucks proceeds to cite agribusiness and energy industry concerns as being particularly pernicious to the Palmetto State, warning of potential economic damage due to “DASKA-related dislocation.”

“We support ongoing efforts to get Congress to fix DASKA – and ensure that these vital economic sectors and private businesses are protected,” he concluded.

Graham has indicated a willingness to amend the bill, but he sounded a defiant tone two months ago when the legislation cleared the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee – directly challenging Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“This strong vote indicates an overwhelming desire by the Senate as a whole to push back against Russian interference in our election and Putin’s misadventures throughout the world,” Graham said in a statement. “I am committed to working with my colleagues to improve this legislation, but it must be strong to be meaningful. Our bill sanctions the Russian energy sector, goes after the illicit gains of Putin and his oligarch friends, and makes strong statements about the value of NATO to the United States.”

DASKA has been criticized at the federal level by officials at the U.S. state department, who claimed the legislation had the potential to create “a significant ripple effect on international markets.”

Just this week, Guy F. Caruso – the former head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – penned a column in Morning Consult calling DASKA’s “broad scope of sanctions … a poor approach to dealing with Russia.”

“The U.S. must counter Russian meddling, but the current version of DASKA isn’t the solution,” Caruso concluded, urging Graham and his fellow lawmakers to focus their attention “on specific Russian wrongdoers whose misdeeds have hurt America.”

That sounds like a far more rational approach to us …




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