Friday, December 28, 2012

using parentless children as a weapon

for the past week or so, mrs. noz has been obsessed with the new russian adoption ban. obviously, this kind of thing strikes a little close to home for us. it's hard not to read about it and not think about all those kids languishing in a post-soviet orphanage like the ones we saw in kazakhstan.

the problem is that the russian legislators aren't thinking about those kids at all. this is simply in retaliation for congress' passage of the magnitsky act. the act penalizes russsians who are linked to human rights abuses by barring them from entering the u.s. and using american banks. using a bar on americans adopting from russia is a weird choice for retaliation. but if you think about it, the duma members didn't have a lot of alternatives.

the bottom line is that the russian elite who are behind human rights abuses (including the members of the duma) like to come to the u.s. they may own property in new york or go to vegas or florida, and they may have an american bank account. the magnitsky act hits them personally. a retaliatory bar on americans coming to russia or using russian banks just won't be that effective, because the american elite doesn't have any special affinity for coming to russia or using the russian banking system. so instead they looked around for something that the americans seem to care about that a russian law could take away. they remembered how in 2010 when russia suspended adoptions after the hansen incident, hillary clinton scrambled to negotiate a new accord that would allow americans to resume adopting from russia.

it seems to me that the whole reason that russia decided to use an adoption ban to retaliate is that they noticed that the u.s. government acts like it cares about international adoption and that happened to be something the russian government has the power to take away. it's not about child welfare. the future of orphaned kids just happened to be the easiest stick the russian government had to hit the americans with. so that's what they did. oh, and they did this too. that'll show em!