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Bridget Johnson


July 17, 2013 - 5:13 pm

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is breaking with his congressional BFF, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in suggesting that an Olympic boycott should be on the table if Russia keeps acting bad.

The U.S. Olympic Committee quickly rejected a suggestion that the U.S. boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“If there are any lessons to be learned from the American boycott of 1980, it is that Olympic boycotts do not work. Our boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games did not contribute to a successful resolution of the underlying conflict. It did, however, deprive hundreds of American athletes, all whom had completely dedicated themselves to representing our nation at the Olympic Games, of the opportunity of a lifetime,” spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.

“It also deprived millions of Americans of the opportunity to take pride in the achievements of our athletes, and in their dedication and commitment, at a time when we needed it most,” he added. “While we acknowledge the seriousness of the issues at hand, we strongly oppose the notion that a boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is in our country’s best interests.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also said this morning that such a boycott would simply “punish U.S. athletes who have been training for three years to compete in the Olympics over a traitor who can’t find a place to call home” — a reference to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who hasn’t left Moscow.

“I love Senator Graham. We’ve been close friends for 20 years. But I think he’s dead wrong,” Boehner said.

On CNN this afternoon, Graham said “it’s not just about Snowden.”

“Russia has aligned themselves with Iran to keep Assad in power. And here’s my question to the Congress and the president. What does Russia have to do before we push back?” he said. “And do I want to cancel the Olympics from an American point of view? No.”

“But would I go to Moscow a year and a half from now if they were continuing to support Assad and 200,000 Syrians had been killed, the king of Jordan had been toppled because of the civil war in Syria, Iraq is falling apart, the arms that the Russians are selling Assad falls into Hezbollah’s hands to be used against Iran, they give Snowden asylum and they help the Iranians march toward a nuclear weapon. Would I accept an invitation sent by Putin? No. I don’t want to boycott the Olympics, but I want a policy that will get the Russians’ attention.”

Graham said when President Bush looked into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes, he “made a mistake.”

“I see a pretty dark figure,” the senator said.

“It’s all about Russia and what they’re doing in the world at a time when it matters. Would Assad stay in power if Russia stopped selling him arms? No. If he left, would the world be a better place? Yes. There would be a mess to follow in Syria, but the king of Jordan would not be toppled because of the war within,” Graham continued.

“If they gave Snowden asylum, a man that’s been charged with serious crimes, it would be an affront to us as a nation. At what point does the president, who has a policy I don’t understand regarding Russia, and the Congress begin to push back? Should have we gone to the Olympics in Berlin in 1936 and give Hitler a propaganda platform to sell his regime?”

He then said he wasn’t comparing Russia to Nazi Germany.

“What I’m saying is would you have the Olympics in Iran? I don’t think most people would. Is Russia Iran? No, but they’re heading in that direction.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (7)
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We have an illegitimate regime wiping its collective a$$es with the Constitution, instigating civilian revolt among their illiterate, ignorant fellow travelers, actively pursuing a war on political enemies with the IRS and DOJ, we are a laughingstock to our enemies abroad, we are infested with mooslim operatives in our state security apparatus, our economy is the worst since the Great Depression, our 'opposition party' bears little to no difference from the oppressive, illegitimate dems and THIS is what you are concerned about? Really? The Rule of Law is being turned on its ear and THIS is what is important to you schmucks? If a true leader does not appear soon, I do not see how any of this ends peacefully...frankly, I am amazed and also proud of the discipline shown up to this point, but everybody has their limit.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
i wonder if graham is aware of the history of the olympics. in ancient times wars were suspended for the olympics. carter proved that boycotting did little of value.

if you can't, or won't, do anything of value, i guess you might as well punish the hard workers. soon you won't have anymore and you can run crying about how the country let you down, mr senator.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The boycott had done untold damages to the US Olympians who spent most of their young lives training for the Olympics and dreaming of winning medals.

Imagine we had boycotted the Beijing Olympics, there would not be a Michael Phelps with all his record breaking medals. At least Carter boycotted to protest an enemy's invasion of a friendly country , Graham's boycott because of one person's action. How utterly stupid!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'When I said that I was a Ronald Reagan Republican, I misspoke. I meant to say that I was a Jimmy Carter Republican.'

- Senator Lindsey Graham

Will Someone Not Rid Us Of This Meddlesome Pest, Senator Lindsey Graham?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Stupider than Carter. Incoherent, ignorant. Yes contemptible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everytime I think Graham can't get more contemptible, he finds a way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah that worked so well when Jimmy Carter did it. What a big girl's blouse Graham is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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