Lindsey Graham: U.S. Should Boycott Olympics Unless Russians Give Us Snowden
Lindsey Graham thinks the U.S. should consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia, over the Edward Snowden affair:
President Obama should consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia if that country gives asylum to Edward Snowden, Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Hill on Tuesday.
“I would. I would just send the Russians the most unequivocal signal I could send them,” Graham (R-S.C.) said when asked about the possibility of a boycott.
“It might help, because what they’re doing is outrageous,” he said. “We certainly haven’t reset our relationship with Russia in a positive way. At the end of the day, if they grant this guy asylum it’s a breach of the rule of law as we know it and is a slap in the face to the United States.”
Snowden, who has been charged with espionage for leaking details about two National Security Agency programs that collected information about U.S. telephone calls and international Internet usage, officially filed a request for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday. He pledged to abide by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demands that he stop leaking information that could damage the United States.
Graham is the first senator to suggest a link between the Olympics and Snowden, who has been holed up in a Moscow airport for weeks.
Other lawmakers also suggested Obama should respond sternly if Russia offers Snowden asylum, although they were more hesitant to suggest boycotting the Olympics.
“There’s many things we can do, but I think the experience of canceling the Olympics the last time around wasn’t very good,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a close ally of Graham’s.
Indeed, it strikes me that the only people hurt by a boycott would be the American athletes who’ve trained all their lives for what will be, for many of them, their one chance to play at the pinnacle of their sport. Meanwhile, the U.S. will just look foolish.
Personally, though, I’ll be continuing my long-standing boycott of watching the Winter Olympics because they hold no interest for me.