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22 Feb, 2024 20:41

Mouth of mass distraction: How Lindsey Graham earned his ‘sponsor of terrorism’ designation

The warmongering US senator has laughed off the label Moscow slapped on him, but the joke is on him
Mouth of mass distraction: How Lindsey Graham earned his ‘sponsor of terrorism’ designation

Let’s play a little game, shall we? It’s called: “Who said it: a famous terrorist or US Senator Lindsey Graham?”

“I have been saying for six months now...hit Iran. They have oil fields out in the open, they have the Revolutionary Guard headquarters you can see from space. Blow it off the map.”

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take [Putin] out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.”

“The goal is to get rid of [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi. The people around Gaddafi need to wake up every day wondering ‘will this be my last?’ The military commanders supporting Gaddafi should be pounded. So I would not let the UN mandate stop what is the right thing to do.”

“All the damage that would come from a war [with North Korea] would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.”

“The only Iranian we killed in Syria or Iraq is some dumbass that doesn’t know to get out of the way.”

“I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do. Come and make your best case. See you in The Hague.”

Indeed, it really isn’t such a big mystery why, this week, Russia would slap a terrorist designation on the guy who actually said all these things aloud, and who just happens to also be an elected official and not a teenager playing a World War-themed video game. Graham’s response would have you believe otherwise, though. “There goes all my rubles!” the South Carolina Senator wrote on X, of a designation that would freeze any of his assets in Russia, of which he obviously has none. Oh, mic drop! Boom! (Don’t get too excited, Lindsey, the explosion is only metaphoric.)

So, what did Graham say this time to catch Moscow’s attention and score the effectively symbolic designation? That the US should designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism in the wake of opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s death in prison. Look, if you’ve been going around robbing banks, then maybe you shouldn’t go public with talk about the need to crack down on bank robbers.

The EU already passed a non-binding resolution back in 2022 to pin the same designation on Russia, and the result, beyond the initial bit of PR buzz, was a big shrug. Notice how member states didn’t bite when Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called on individual EU countries, like France, to do the same? There’s a good reason for that.

One major implication of slapping Russia with a terrorism state sponsorship designation is that it could prompt Moscow to play a similar card against the US or its allies for their support of Ukrainian fighters with weapons, financing and training, particularly of Azov regiment neo-Nazis folded into the Ukraine army and designated a terrorist group by the Russian Supreme Court in 2022. Thankfully, Graham isn’t actually responsible for anything on the foreign policy front. That falls on Biden. Whose role requires taking into account all the various implications of actually doing whatever Graham suggests in firing off his mouth of mass distraction.

Not that Graham cares. He figures that all is well because he can launch rhetorical grenades while safely hiding behind Uncle Sam. What he continues to miscalculate, however, is the blowback that he’s creating against his own neoconservative interventionist ideology at home.

America has enough problems of its own, and its people know it, especially the younger generations who are sick of nonstop conflict spending and misplaced priorities – and yet Graham can’t ever pass up an opportunity to create more pretexts for it. Not exactly a surprise when Graham himself once told USA Today: “If I were a defense contractor, I’d be big time for Lindsey Graham, because I’ve been forward-leaning on rebuilding our military.” Which would explain why he scored much of the $2.9 million in donations to his presidential primary campaign from defense contractors, as The Intercept reported at the time. You’d think that the fact of having lost to Trump in that primary race – one of the few presidents not to have started a new war while in office – would have ultimately been instructive.

“Step right up, folks, get your next world war right here.” That’s basically the message that’s always coming out of US Senator Lindsey Graham’s mouth. It’s all fun and games – and profit – regardless of how many of the “little people” end up paying with their lives.

Shooting one’s mouth off nonstop in favor of triggering war (anywhere but inside America, of course) by advocating attacks on foreign countries is Graham’s whole brand. He pounds the desk, but really couldn’t care less where the dust settles afterwards. That’s for someone else, with actual responsibility, to deal with. Guys like him, and his BFF the late Senator John McCain, and former Ambassador and Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton are all basically the same dude. Graham and McCain were the ones who actively lobbied their Republican colleagues to get Obama appointee, Victoria “Regime Change Karen” Nuland, confirmed into the role of assistant secretary of state for Europe in May 2013. They succeeded. And just a few months later she was in Ukraine as Euromaidan popped off, handing out cookies and getting caught on tape telling the US Ambassador to Kiev who should comprise the post-coup Ukrainian cabinet.

They all represent a bygone era before social-media-driven transparency and diversity of analysis and freedom of information. Neoconservative narratives driving endless war enjoyed much less pushback from more marginalized dissenting voices. The results of their policies, from the Middle East to Africa, have been so disastrous that they’ve lost any benefit of the doubt. Their party is now dominated by a populist, Trumpist doctrine of military nonintervention (or, at least, minimal intervention) favored by younger generations, but also by those who are just done being manipulated into supporting one war after another over the past few decades, and with disappointing returns.

So, while Graham is busy sticking out his tongue at Putin, laughing about how Moscow took its shot and missed – he might want to consider where the ricochet actually ended up. And how much of a reckless jackass he made of himself, yet again, in front of increasingly war-weary Americans.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.