Should President Obama sign the Magnitsky Bill (the bill that attempts to impose sanctions on Russia for human rights violations) in case it passes and ends up in front of him?
If his goal is to look like the planet’s laughing stock, then he surely must sign it. If his goal is in any way different, the he should not.
After Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, after the bombings of all and sundry for no particular reason, after Guantanamo, nobody in the world takes the US seriously as a defender of human rights on the global arena. The Russians will weep with laughter if the bill passes. I really dislike the way Russia is today, and I hope we will not give them this satisfaction.
This bill is the equivalent of me lecturing people on the importance of networking and censoring other bloggers for using strong language.
On a serious note, the Russians will take this bill as yet another step on the road to reviving the conflict for world domination of the Cold War era. And they will be right, too. If a country that has been violating human rights abroad left and right for a very long time (and happily coexisting with such huge violator of human rights as China) censors another country for doing the same within its borders, that can only be seen as a very direct statement of, “We (and those we like, or at least owe money to) are the only ones who can do this because we are the boss.”
This will only make us look ridiculous and weak and will achieve no useful goal.