Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) was in Moscow this week in his role as chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to discuss how the U.S. and Russia could work together to fight terrorism. Accompanied by Steven Seagal, Rohrabacher embarked on a short fear-mongering campaign meant, I can only assume, to set the premise for a Seagal comeback.
In his visit with Russia with security officials, Rohrabacher concluded that there was "nothing specific" that could have helped prevent the Boston Marathon bombings. Then Rohrabacher went further, saying, "Radical Islam is at our throat in the United States and is at the throat of the Russian people."
While it is fair to say terrorism remains a threat, and we should cooperate with Russia to combat it, "radical Islam" is not at our throat. In Obama's counterterrorism speech two weeks ago, for instance, the president spoke of withdrawing from a perpetual war mindset. With the Al-Qaeda core close to dismantled, the threat has shifted to less powerful terrorist affiliates and home grown threats. General William Nash, an independent consultant on national security issues, commented that the U.S. "has begun the transition from a perpetual war to a more normalized national security framework."
If ever Rep. Dana Rohrabacher were to feel in danger though, at least he could feel safe beside his travel companion, film star Seagal, who he praised: "We are very pleased that [Seagal] opened up some doors for us so we could have some very high-level discussions." This fear-mongering might just be the boost Seagal needs as he becomes the new face of the Russian arms industry.
Mr. Rohrabacher, who calls himself "a most forceful spokesman for human rights and democracy," declared in the same speech that "We have to make friends with the Russians and recognize that there's a mutual threat now to both of us." The Washington Post editorial board points out the hypocrisy in Rohrabacher wanting to ally with what they called "President Vladimir Putin's lackeys, who have been singling out Russian opposition leaders for investigation and prosecution on trumped-up charges ... [and] Mr. Putin's prosecutors, who are going door-to-door investigating nongovernmental organizations in a systematic effort to snuff out civil society? They are not 'friends' to human rights or democracy."
One is left to wonder why this self-proclaimed forceful human rights advocate would not only want to ally with the repressive Putin government, but also feel the need to follow a fear-mongering narrative that will only reinforce the human rights abuses committed in the name of the War on Terror.