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Senator X and the Soviets
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 21, 2006

This has begun making the rounds of the right blogosphere. But I want to change it up a bit, or modify it instead, so we can have a discussion. You can go to the link to see what it is all about if you don't already know:
In his book, which came out this week, Kengor focuses on a KGB letter written at the height of the Cold War that shows that Sen. X. offered to assist Soviet leaders in formulating a public relations strategy to counter President Y's foreign policy and to complicate his re-election efforts.
Specifically:
The letter, dated May 14, 19xx, was sent from the head of the KGB to Yuri Andropov, who was then General Secretary of the Soviet Union's Communist Party.

In his letter, KGB head Viktor Chebrikov offered Andropov his interpretation of X's offer. Former U.S. Sen. Z. had traveled to Moscow on behalf of X to seek out a partnership with Andropov and other Soviet officials, Kengor claims in his book.

At one point after President Y left office, Z acknowledged that he had played the role of intermediary, not only for X but for other U.S. senators, Kengo said. Moreover, Z told the London Times that he had made 15 separate trips to Moscow.
What did Sen. X propose?
Specifically, X proposed that Andropov make a direct appeal to the American people in a series of television interviews that would be organized in August and September of 19xx, according to the letter.

"Z told his contacts that X was very troubled about the decline in U.S -Soviet relations under Y," Kengor said. "But X attributed this decline to Y, not to the Soviets. In one of the most striking parts of this letter, X is said to be very impressed with Andropov and other Soviet leaders."

In X's view, the main reason for the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 19xxs was Y's unwillingness to yield on plans to deploy middle-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe, the KGB chief wrote in his letter.
So now couched as a hypothetical - and assuming it is all true - how would you characterize Sen. X's actions?

And save the partisanship. Thoughtful comments only, please.
 
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Haven’t followed the link yet, but Andropov was only General Secretary of the CPSU for a short time, and if you know when that is (I do), there’s only one PotUS who could be "Y". That complicates my remaining nonpartisan, but really, who couldn’t guess the affiliation of Senator X anyway?

I’m going to go follow the link now, but before I do, how can anyone honestly approve of this Senator X? He should be hung out to dry.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
So now couched as a hypothetical - and assuming it is all true - how would you characterize Sen. X’s actions?
I would characterize those actions as somewhere between those of a "useful idiot" and those of an outright traitor to his country.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Now I’ve read the article. And my regard for the intelligence of voters in state Z just dropped another notch.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Having read the article, can’t say I’m terribly surprised.

I also can’t think of a worse idea than a series of direct televised appeals by Andropov, as far as politics go. What would he have said, anyway?

"America, your President Y should not deploy Pershing missiles in Europe. If he does, things could get nasty between us. So please, vote for opposing Candidate B instead. He will be much less likely to anger the Soviet Union."
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
It appears a mystery American Senator organized with Russia’s Andropov to influence the outcome of a domestic presidential race.

My thoughts:
1. This is treason, but...
2. If Senator X does not recognize the nation-state construct, then it’s admirable. He/she is just a global Samaritan, trying hard to live up to a "Global Ideal," to help America pass the "Global Test."

Either way, this mystery person had better get an attorney.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Good post, McQ, but frankly I’m unsurprised. Anyone who’s read The Sword and the Shield, In Denial, or the works of Robert Conquest or Richard Pipes would know the depth of Soviet meddling in the US political system. They always had willing allies amongst both the civil service and those actively holding office. This researcher just happens to be naming a currently serving Senator (which is a major issue), but just wait till the spin-control starts. Ted is a wily old coot, before this is all over he’s going to look like the guy who personally toppled the statue of Lenin in Moscow.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
If Senator X does not recognize the nation-state construct, then it’s admirable. He/she is just a global Samaritan, trying hard to live up to a "Global Ideal," to help America pass the "Global Test."
Nice try, but Senator X is helping a different nation-state that the one in which he is a Senator.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I am not well versed in the foreign policy area. Is it normal for Congressional thinking to be in line with Presidential policy? I did not think so.
As I recall, many senators and congressmen maintain back door channels to foreign leaders who are on the outs with whatever current administration exists. In fact, doesn’t our whole congressional pay-for-play lobbying system depend upon the premise that different ’views’ pay for time and advice from congressmen? Like the Israeli lobby, the Saudi lobby, the French lobby, etc.?
Wasn’t Reagan the person (as a private citizen) who allegedly manipulated the release of the embassy hostages in Iran until after he won the election? I don’t think it was ever proven yet the rumor persists. Isn’t it even normal for the State Department and the CIA to be at odds over foreign policy and taking actions to subvert each other? I don’t recall anyone considering either of them treasonous. Or is the point here to skewer a controversial Senator, divert attention from Republican page scandals, or to buck up the Republican voter by invoking Reagan worship?
If I am not sufficently nuanced to understand the point of the article, let me know.
 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
As I recall, many senators and congressmen maintain back door channels to foreign leaders who are on the outs with whatever current administration exists. In fact, doesn’t our whole congressional pay-for-play lobbying system depend upon the premise that different ’views’ pay for time and advice from congressmen? Like the Israeli lobby, the Saudi lobby, the French lobby, etc.?
But you’re talking about foreign governments attempting to find those who agree with them to influence our foreign policy.

What Sen. X is doing is offering help to a foreign government to influence our domestic politics (elections).

Is that kosher with you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If I am not sufficently nuanced to understand the point of the article, let me know.
You are not sufficiently nuanced to understand the point of the article.

The warring principalities in the Executive branch are one thing. Heck, our entire government is predicated on the idea of different parts of the government holding each other accountable.

The most powerful members of the Legislative branch taking the initiative to go abroad to a country with thousands of missiles pointed at us, to ask their General Secretary to help in a little Executive "regime change" in the US, is quite another thing.

That said, you’re quite right that Congressional "pay for play" does open the Congress itself to special interest groups, even those acting in the interests of foreign countries. One could even argue that this contributes to America’s legitimacy in it’s current leadership role and prevents active balancing against the US, reassuringly making our behavior more predictable. Luckily, we keep track of campaign donations, and the lobby usually comes to the Congressman. We can hold that Congressman accountable when he votes in favor of sending an aid package to Israel.

A senator sending emissaries abroad, under the radar, to ask them for intervention in a US election, has a slightly different character to it, wouldn’t you agree?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
It’s probably happened before with members of party Z
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
The saddest thing about all of this is that, were Senator X to be hanged as a traitor as he ought to be, he’d still be re-elected. And now he would smell worse.
 
Written By: Skorj
URL: http://
I think it is not sufficient to focus solely on the conduct of a particular Senator who made these overtures to a hostile foreign power. The Senator obviously thought there was good reason to keep his actions off the radar screen. If he did not think this conduct was (to say the least) inappropriate, the Senator would have been acting in a more public fashion. But, the Senator’s failure of character aside, we should also focus on those Media representatives that may have been complicit in this effort. Since this occurred at a time when Andropov was the head of the USSR, we are talking about the early 1980s....perhaps just prior to Reagan’s second run....do August and Sepetember XXXX = August and September 1983? If the Senator had broached this topic with Media representatives in advance to secure their cooperation, and they had agreed to cooperate in an effort to sway an election, it would tend to show that the more things change.....
 
Written By: RAZ
URL: http://
Personally I’m not a fan of hanging. In a case like this it’s probably more merciful to hang him than to put him an actual prison.
 
Written By: Joe Canadian
URL: http://
Well,it is all beyond me. When Oliver North, et al, subverted Congress and undertook that little covert action with arms sales, I thought that was treasonous. But no one seems to mind that Poindexter came back into government a couple of years ago or that Oliver North has a TV program now. No one thought North, McFarland, or Poindexter were treasonous for dealing with Manual Noriega in violation of the Boland Amendment. Are off-the-shelf covert activities not authorized by the President not treasonous? Why is that?

So how is congressional advice to speak to a national audience treasonous?

I have to run but will check back tomorrow.

 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
So, am I to understand that Senator X, who is the brother of President Q and Attorney General Z, made contact with the Godless Communists thorough another U.S. Senator. Then, Senator X got drunk and drove bridge C with female MJK. Thus, scandal #27 erupts involving Senator X’s family. It is worth mentioning that Senator X’s Daddy had contacts with Mafia B.

I feel like I just read an eye chart at the optometrist’s office.
 
Written By: Joab
URL: http://joabsblog.blogspot.com
Treason;
US Constitution, Article III, Section 3;

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or, in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort..."

"Well,it is all beyond me."

Obviously.

"I have to run but will check back tomorrow."

Please don’t bother.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I wonder what politician X sees at the bottom of the bottle every night??? Failed family expectations or MJK taking her last gasp?
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
The article your link goes to is two days old. Anything newer? How reliable is this guy and his letter? I couldn’t find much with google.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It is not treason, because (as timactual notes) that is very narrowly defined in the US Constitution. It is almost certainly sedition (an attempt to undermine the government), but that is not currently a crime in the US, and I am quite prepared to see it remain that way unless very narrowly defined. In a legal sense, it probably does violate the law, in that it is illegal for a citizen to conduct private diplomacy with agents of another nation, which Senator Kennedy apparently did here. However, that law is hardly ever enforced, or both Jimmy Carter (1994, Korea) and Jesse Jackson (1982?, Hizb’allah) would have been hit with it.

In a moral sense, of course, it is both remarkably immoral and utterly unsurprising. The Kennedy family is hardly a bastion of moral rectitude, but at least the majority of the clan have some civic virtues, such as love of country. Ted Kennedy does not even recognizably have that much, being entirely focused on his own self-debasing obsessions and self-aggrandizement, which is sad given how much his family has sacrificed for this country.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
I’m not sure how I feel. Everyone talked to the Soviets. The US had both in and out-of-government contacts with them. They might have been our competitors or global political enemies, but we weren’t at war with them in a military sense.
So, treason is over the top.

I don’t think the American public is going to buy having foreign Soviet leaders come to vouch for your candidate. So, it was a dumb idea. But is it out of bounds for a presidential candidate, or for US senators, to promote their foreign policies by getting foreign leaders to sign on to them as a demonstration of their viability? I don’t think so. Generally speaking. And that means, if John McCain, for example, wants to run around the globe in 2007 getting world leaders to sign onto his Iran Sanction plan, or heck, his military strikes plan, I’m skeptical that it is right to force him to stop or that it should be illegal. He’s a senator, not a private citizen. He’s involved in foreign policy in the broad reality. Now John McCain can’t act on behalf of the US in implementing these plans, but he can probably float them.

So, the question at hand here is, is Senator X having Soviets come down to promote a foreign policy idea of peace, with an incidental, but deliberate domestic effect - which probably happens fairly often? Or is Senator X having Soviets come down for domestic effect specifically? If you’re having the world leader promote a foreign policy choice, and you’re a senator, you can probably get away with it.

On the other hand, it is indeed a going to make people angry and open the person in question to charges that they are undermining the US’s foreign policy. Well, so be it. Having Soviets electioneer for you is not a winning hand, anyway. As long as the support is overt and not covert, the problem takes care of itself.

Will the US like the guy? is an overt factor in Israeli political campaigns...

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I have no idea what lies behind this story.

I do have personal knowledge about the SSR releasing their ’documents’.
I have seen several faked documents and an entire book full of wild accusations against real people,
including doctored photographs.

These cases had nothing to do with US politics, so it may not pertain. A little scepticism always lingers with me, though, when it comes to SSR documents.

(Why are we X, Y and Zing? These people have names, already published elsewhere. Are we pretending we are spies?)

The author making these claims is a professor, so I would suppose he had the sense to authenticate the document. On the other hand, his writing has run along the lines of ’God and Reagan’ and "God and Bush."
On the whole, the author seems to be your kind of guy, but I would keep his background and what is known about SSR documents in mind, before investing in a celebratory bottle of champagne.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
For those who have ’splained it to me, thanks. The crux of this argument depends upon the determination of an Enemy as well as the actions of the senator. By definition then, no treason was committed. I am curious though which branch of the government has the authority to designate the Enemies of the US? OR do we all just assume we know who our Enemies are in a sort of "touchy feely" kind of process?
Thanks for your grace in replying to me.
 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
(Why are we X, Y and Zing? These people have names, already published elsewhere. Are we pretending we are spies?)
Because there is a certain knee-jerk reaction on either side of the political spectrum with certain names. I was more interested in discussion and analysis than the usual partisan shots.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"It is not treason, because (as timactual notes) that is very narrowly defined in the US Constitution. It is almost certainly sedition (an attempt to undermine the government), but that is not currently a crime in the US"

You’re incorrect. Sedition certainly is a crime in the US, and thank God for that.

"18 USC 115 Section 2388:

Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or

Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."
 
Written By: rightwingprof
URL: http://rightwingnation.com
Nonetheless, rightwingprof, the activities described, if they happened as described, aren’t either treason or sedition. I agree that they’re reprehensible but what they are is politics. Which ain’t beanbag.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
The wire service story that McQ linked begins with this paragraph:
The antipathy that congressional Democrats have today toward President George W. Bush is reminiscent of their distrust of President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War, a political science professor says.
We often hear in the MSM that political polarization and vitriol have reached unprecedented levels during the Bush administration, but I clearly recall that that Left was every bit as angry during the Reagan administration.

When Reagan countered the Warsaw Pact deployment of SS-20 missiles targeting Europe by deploying Pershing 2 missiles with NATO the Left came unglued.

Back to the topic:

Glasnost asks, "So, the question at hand here is, is Senator X having Soviets come down to promote a foreign policy idea of peace...?


The idea that the Soviets were all about peace is ridiculous.

During the lead-up to the Iraq war the US was at loggerheads with France. There was a reasonable difference of opinion whether France was opposing us as an ally who was trying to stop us from making a mistake, or whether they were opposing us as an adversary who was blocking us to protect their own political and economic interests. Perhaps the case could be made that a Senator who held the former view would be justified in working covertly with the French to help their argument prevail with the UN Security Council.

I cannot see any justification, however, for a US Senator to covertly work with the Soviets to derail the American response to the deployment of SS-20 missiles targeting Europe. The Soviets were not just our adversaries; they were our cold War enemy, and anyone who claimed to be covertly working for them in the belief that the Soviets were interested in world peace would either be dishonest or a fool.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
the activities described, if they happened as described, aren’t either treason or sedition. I agree that they’re reprehensible but what they are is politics.

Working covertly with an unfriendly foreign state to undermine the official foreign policy of this country goes beyond garden-variety politics. I am not a lawyer, so I cannot speak to whether it meets the definition of treason or sedition, but I do believe that there should be some type of proscription, if not in criminal law then at least within the ethics rules of the Senate.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Laime -
I am curious though which branch of the government has the authority to designate the Enemies of the US?
If we’re at war with them, they’re an enemy.

Constitutionally,
* there are "declarations of war," in which Congress specifically identifies another state and gives the Commander-in-Chief unlimited warmaking power,
* and then there are more restricted levels of consent, where Congress pares down who the enemies are, what the objectives are, what means can be used in fighting them, etc. This is "limited war."
* And then the President, acting as CinC, may make war for a short period of time without Congress’ consent or even (for a shorter period of time) knowledge. This is politically risky, but considering the modern strategic environment, a necessary option. If somebody’s launched nukes at US territory or a carrier battle group, we don’t have time to convene Congress and ask politely whether we can fire back.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I appreciate your reply, thanks.
 
Written By: kindlingman
URL: http://
Whoops, it was you, kindlingman, wasn’t it? Sorry for referring to you as Laime.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
MCQ: "I was more interested in discussion and
analysis than the usual partisan shots. "

Really? Then, why aren’t you concerned about a comparison to the Iran-Contra affair? No problem there?
Ollie North didn’t just talk. He acted illeglly by his own admission. How is selling arms to Iran better than what your X,Y or Z (pick the right letter) did? Ollie and his group were not only seeking to influence foreign policy, they were practicing foreign policy without (acknowledged) authority from any branch of the government.

I’m not a fan of the senator. I think he is sleazy. His only endearing quality for me is some agreement on some plicy issues. But this post not being partisan? I’m not buying.





 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
The idea that the Soviets were all about peace is ridiculous.

Sure, I personally would agree with that, but the question remains, was Senator X working with the Soviets to promote a set of foreign policy choices, with only an incidental (even if deliberate) effect on domestic elections? If so, though the beliefs behind his actions may have been wrong or even laughable, whether or not he’s betraying his country is probably a point of view.

I don’t think the Soviets were all about peace, either, but that doesn’t mean, as Gorbachev demonstrates, that it was factually impossible for groups within the Soviet leadership to arise who were interested in avoiding confrontation. As it is not impossible for such a thing to arise in Iran, for example.

I don’t really think Andropov had much to offer myself, but this isn’t about whether Senator X’s judgements were stupid, alone.

Your example with France demonstrates the subjective nature of the differentiation, which is why, on the whole, the general subset of behavior under discussion should probably not be forbidden - although using it against Senator X in elections is fair game.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Really? Then, why aren’t you concerned about a comparison to the Iran-Contra affair? No problem there?
Again, it wasn’t about history particularly ... it was an attempt to get some analysis over what you’re trying to do right now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
glasnost -

"Promote a set of policy choices" is nothing less than a blatant euphemism. It conveniently leaves out who is doing the promotion, and considering this was under the radar, the fact that Senator X was trying to do so without accountability.

(That is, if this was all true.)

That’s inappropriate in and of itself, but on top of that, Senator X seems to have been doing so with the additional motive of affecting who would be elected PotUS in ’84. That you seem to think a hoped-for (and momentous) effect can be both "deliberate" and "incidental" is indicative of some kind of doublethink.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Damnit. That hyperlink under "deliberate" was supposed to lead to the adjective form of "deliberate," but the url is messed up. So click here, then click on the adjective form.

Anyway.
deliberate (adj): 1 : characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration
2 : characterized by awareness of the consequences
3 : slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved
incidental (adj): 1 a : being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence b : MINOR
2 : occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation
Affecting the presidential elections in ’84, from Senator X’s (or anyone’s) perspective, could not possibly have been an "incidental (even if deliberate) effect" of his actions.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Every once in a while, HTML can be a pain in the @ss.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I would see if he could be nailed starting with the Logan Act for openers and perhaps ending with Treason.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
In the modern day there’s a couple of Senators and a former President that should also be hit with the Logan Act, hard.

But because the media would spin it as suppressing free speach or some other travesty, the current administration is afraid to do their job.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Logan Act, I definitely see.
Treason? That’s a very high legal bar, and frankly one that can’t be reached.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The end goal was to manipulate and election outcome in the Soviets favor. That goes beyond the Logan Act, imho.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
If one puts aside who Sen. X is and even forgets it’s the Soviet Union on the outside, this amounts to a US citizen, and officer of the US government, bring a foreign nation into the US political process.

Using ones own offices to conduct a political activity that requires an expenditure of moneys put foreign money in the US political process, something that most will agree is a bad thing. In 1983, bring a foreign country into the US political process was just as illegal as it is today.

Besides that, Sen. X was obviously not authorized by President Y to conduct foreign relations (with the outcome of harming President Y), something that is forbidden by the "Logan Act."

The negotiation and the goal PR activities are a clear stretching of the authority of Congress into the matters of the Executive. A reciprocal activity would garner cat calls from the Congress.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Wow. This Kennedy-Tunney overture was just two months after Reagan’s Evil Empire speech.

Talk about being on the wrong side of history.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
This 3 year old story has more.

It indicates that Sen. Kennedy did much the same to President Carter, as he later tried to do to Reagan.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Ornery, my personal opinion is that don’t think it should be legally out of bounds (Right #1)for a US Senator to have representatives of other countries campaign - openly, not covertly - for electoral candidates. The emails are covert only in the sense that most event planning is covert before it happens.

This happens plenty in the rest of the world. George Bush arguably did it with Vincente Fox. The USSR doesn’t equal Vincente Fox - which is why it was a politically stupid idea - which is why it wasn’t done. Having officials from nations popularly perceived as America’s enemies - officially true or not - campaign for you is dumb and doesn’t work. That’s all the protection needed from the fear of foreign domination of a US election.

I also, as I’ve stated before, believe that senators have the right (Right #2) to float and promote foreign policy ideas in cooperation with foreign personnel who would be relevant to the implementation of said policy.

Senator X’s plans here would have involved some of both of the above. My point was only that, if you agree with Right #2, then this sort of dual-use scenario probably falls under Right #2, even if there is desired electoral effect. Unless you want to declare a no-floating-ideas-with-foreign-people-within-90-days of an election?

After all, the incumbent president can pimp any foriegn policy ideas he wants to benefit himself pre-election. Why not keep it even?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Is it legal for foreign governments to contribute to political campaigns?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Ornery, my personal opinion is that don’t think it should be legally out of bounds (Right #1)for a US Senator to have representatives of other countries campaign - openly, not covertly - for electoral candidates.
Just so long as you recognize the difference between your normative judgment and legal reality.
The emails are covert only in the sense that most event planning is covert before it happens.
Emails?
This happens plenty in the rest of the world. George Bush arguably did it with Vincente Fox.
What the rest of the world does is up to them. Senator X is a high-ranking representative of this country, the United States of America, and at the time of the alleged act, he was doing something that I would strenuously argue is against both the letter and spirit of the law, which he swore an oath to uphold.
The USSR doesn’t equal Vincente Fox - which is why it was a politically stupid idea - which is why it wasn’t done. Having officials from nations popularly perceived as America’s enemies - officially true or not - campaign for you is dumb and doesn’t work. That’s all the protection needed from the fear of foreign domination of a US election.
... in your opinion. I disagree with your opinion. I think it’s inappropriate for someone, acting without the blessing or oversight of our government, to take the initiative to contact a foreign head of state to get him to intervene in the hopes of altering the policy-making apparatus of this country.

It just so happens that the Logan Act agrees with me, and disagrees with you. Whether that means anything to you, I don’t know, but wouldn’t you agree that a Senator should behave according to the law? I know that sounds like a pipe dream, but bear with me.
I also, as I’ve stated before, believe that senators have the right (Right #2) to float and promote foreign policy ideas in cooperation with foreign personnel who would be relevant to the implementation of said policy.
Once again, you’ve employed a euphemism. "In cooperation with" means two entirely different things when said Senator is or is not performing such diplomacy with the blessing or even knowledge of the government of the United States.

You’ve invented the "right" you proposed above, and I’d like to know why.
Senator X’s plans here would have involved some of both of the above. My point was only that, if you agree with Right #2, then this sort of dual-use scenario probably falls under Right #2, even if there is desired electoral effect. Unless you want to declare a no-floating-ideas-with-foreign-people-within-90-days of an election?
No, I’d like to propose that no citizen of this country, perhaps especially elected officials, should go "over the head" of the appropriate and appointed agents of the government of the US and conduct unofficial diplomacy with officers of other states — and it’s especially egregious and reckless when doing so with the highest-ranking official of the state that is the greatest strategic threat to the United States and its allies. This holds whether we’re 90 days from the next election or 729 days away.
After all, the incumbent president can pimp any foriegn policy ideas he wants to benefit himself pre-election. Why not keep it even?
It already is even. The incumbent president faces questions on foreign policy from the press and from opposing politicians all the time, and there’s no doubt he has to deal with the international situation as it is, and explain why his policies have gotten us where we are. Other politicians can pimp their foreign policy ideas too, all over TV and radio and the newpapers and with lucrative and carefully timed book deals.
What the PotUS usually doesn’t have to deal with is a covert campaign by American citizens to appeal to foreign agents to intervene.

If some foreign official wants to go on the air and make suggestions about foreign policy, I can’t stop him. If he does so at the behest of an American Senator working behind the scenes and without the approval or knowledge of the US government, I have a serious problem.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
If I correctly understand some of the arguments being made here, the charitable explanation for Senator Kennedy’s - whoops, "Senator X’s" - actions is that he was basically running his own foreign policy regarding the Soviet Union. That doesn’t wash for two reasons. Firstly, the Constitution explicitly states that foreign policy is expressly an executive power, not a legislative one. I read that to mean that no member of Congress has any business carrying on with representatives of foreign governments without the approval of the executive branch. And secondly, "Senator X" was apparently colluding with a declared enemy of his own country in order to undermine and influence American foreign policy...and American domestic politics. It’s too bad that neither the Logan Act nor the treason laws are enforced, because it sure seems to me, objectively speaking, that "Sen. X" has broken both.

Secondly, Kennedy - let’s just drop the pretense about who we’re talking about - had reportedly been colluding with the USSR on various matters for years. Over a decade ago Yevgenia Albats, a Russian investigative journalist with the Izvestia newspaper, reported that Kennedy had approached the KGB (!) for help in securing business contacts in the Soviet Union for a friend, former US Senator John Tunney...the same John Tunney that was mentioned in the above article as an intermediary between Kennedy and the Soviet leadership.

The following is taken from pages 250 and 251 of Albats’ book, "The State Within a State: The KGB And Its Hold on Russia Past, Present and Future" (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 1994). All emphases are mine:
…Foreign businessmen have never been particularly bothered by the prospect of doing business with the KGB; perestroika hardly changed that. An extremely top-secret KGB memo to Soviet leaders stated:

In 1978, American Senator Edward Kennedy appealed to the KGB to assist in establishing cooperation between Soviet organizations and the California firm Agritech, headed by former senator J. Tunney. This firm in turn was connected to a French-American company, Finatech S.A., which was run by a competent KGB source, the prominent Western financier D. Karr, through which opinions had been confidentially exchanged for several years between the General Secretary of the Communist Party and Sen. Kennedy. D.Karr provided the KGB with technical information on conditions in the US and other capitalist countries which were regularly reported to the Central Committee.

The “prominent financier” D. Karr has passed away. He was in fact a Soviet agent who provided the Soviet Union with a great deal of useful information, especially involving science and technology.
While Yevgenia Albats hastened to add that she didn’t "mean to imply that (Senator Kennedy) was an informer or a traitor or anything of the kind," she went on to say:
But I think it’s worthy of note that this esteemed statesman and longtime hero of American liberalism - with greater access to information about totalitarian abuses in the Soviet Union than any Soviet citizen - felt no reluctance to approach the KGB as if it were a legitimate government institution. He was willing to ask it for favors and look for its help in making profitable contracts for his old school friend John Tunney.

After I published this KGB memo, an AP correspondent tried three times (so far as I know) to reach Edward Kennedy’s lawyer, but to no avail. Kennedy’s press secretary refutes any claim of his boss’s contacts with the KGB.
In other words, if Yevgenia Albats is telling the truth - at the least, if this KGB memorandum she quoted from back in 1994 is accurate - then Kennedy and Tunney both were perfectly willing to not only provide the Soviet leadership with advice on American domestic and foreign policy...they were also perfectly willing to, knowingly, do business with the KGB and its agents.

Sounds like treason to me, if you can prove it...but I kind of doubt that that KGB memo Albats dug up is going to appear in Federal District Court anytime soon. Meanwhile, Kennedy’s press secretary is presumably still denying that his boss was shacked up with the Soviets...and probably that the Senator never heard of that Kopechne girl, either.








 
Written By: Wes S.
URL: http://
It just so happens that the Logan Act agrees with me, and disagrees with you.

Obviously, those who break the law have invited the consequences of that act. As for the wisdom of the law, we disagree. It wasn’t really central to the question as posed by McQ.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The worst of all of this is that Sen. Kennedy appears to have been involved in all of this USSR stuff while running for US President in 1980.

This guy is one sick puppy.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I cahn assu-ah you, that the peepul of Mass-ah-chusetts, will undah-stahnd my position in this mattah. So long as they-ah is a Mass-ah-chusetts, they-ah will be a Kennedy in office. It is, aft-al all, my birth-right.

I would also like to say, when I came back to the kah - MaryJo and the kah were gone.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Obviously, those who break the law have invited the consequences of that act. As for the wisdom of the law, we disagree.

Was it you, or someone else, who blasted me the other day for saying something similar about FISA?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Was it you, or someone else, who blasted me the other day for saying something similar about FISA?

I don’t recall you admitting that Georgie broke the law or that any relevant consequences should be applicable, but I don’t want to drag this thread into that discussion.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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