Thursday, March 15, 2012

'Time to End Jackson-Vanik'

This reporter reveres the memory of Henry M. ("Scoop") Jackson as an estimable--possibly, even, a saintly--defender of democracy and the U.S. national interest. But the time to do away with the law that bears the late Senator's name is long overdue, as a column by Forbes contributor Mark Adomanis makes clear. He writes:

In what is surely a sign that the apocalypse is nigh I find myself fully in agreement with the Obama Administration’s man in Moscow, Michael McFaul about the need to immediately repeal the Jackon-Vanik amendment without preconditions or the passage of additional “human rights” legislation. Although I’ve had many agreements with McFaul over the years, and still undoubtedly have basic differences over the United States’ role in promoting democracy, it’s extremely discouraging to see him criticized and attacked for promoting an eminently reasonable and rational policy.

Another excerpt:

Jackson-Vanik is a self evidently absurd law: if we’re going to keep it on the books we might as well have sanctions against Italy for its cruel occupation of Abyssinia or Japan for its misbehavior in Manchukuo. It is worth re-emphasizing, again, that Jackson-Vanick is designed to remedy a malady that no longer exists. The Soviet Union’s strict control over emigration is on history’s ash heap and Russian citizens are today perfectly free to emigrate if they so desire.

Click here to read the entire essay. Adomanis is an exceptionally interesting and entertaining columnist. His pieces are informative and thought-provoking--essential, enjoyable reading from Forbes.

Click here to read more about the Jackson-Vanik issue. That it should even be an issue--more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War--speaks volumes.