Reviewing Links to Dictatorships

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary The Russian government is very upset about it. Recently, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed what is being officially called the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. The act is named after the famed Russian journalist who helped expose corruption in high places in the Russian government. The Russian government then had Sergei Magnitsky imprisoned where he “accidentally” died. It is widely believed that he was murdered. The new law will ban those officials and police guilty of crimes against journalists and human rights advocates in Russia. You can be sure that the Russian government will do the same thing to those American officials they deem “spies.” This is one of the few pieces of legislation that has been passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress. It sends a very strong message—America still holds dear the principles of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of the press (and the Internet), and freedom of peaceful of association with whatever group or party an individual wants to belong to.

This piece of legislation may single out Russia, but it is more than Russia that this act has in mind. It is a message that the U.S. Constitution is not up for negotiation. That no relationship with any state is worth the sacrifice of what Americans hold dear. I am not saying that the United States should break relations with those states that are one-party dictatorships or run by those with extra-ordinary legal powers. What I am saying is that this country should never get “close” to states like these. Such states will most certainly not care what happens to the United States, and they most certainly will not repay America’s generosity for any humanitarian acts this country may present. This country should not only maintain but also strengthen the ties it has with those states that truly are democratic and that do not imprison, torture or murder their citizens because of their political or religious beliefs. It is unfortunate that the United States dealt too closely with those governments that may have been “allies” in whatever the situation was at the time, but in reality practiced immense cruelty on their own people.

The United States should of course continue to promote the ideas and principles that Americans believe in. This will have a dramatic impact not only in other countries but on the people who are yearning to be free. In this sense, the American people, individually or as a whole, has a duty to express their desire and interests in freedom and in preserving and protecting the rights of any and all peoples. This one act is a good stepping stone, but only one stepping stone in expressing our ideas to the world.

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