[…] Kiev remains afloat due to abundant Western aid. President Volodymyr Zelensky has pushed the West for active military intervention, so far unsuccessfully. His latest gambit is to urge the Biden administration to declare Moscow a state sponsor of terrorism.
There is just one problem with the idea: Russia is not a state sponsor of terrorism.
Of course, the Putin regime is evil, having brutally invaded its neighbor. There was no justification for Russia’s aggression, though allied violations of multiple security assurances and expansion of NATO to Russia’s border help explain his decision. Moscow is a criminal actor. However, that does not mean it is a terrorist state.
Zelensky’s desire to get as much for his country from the West is understandable. In a comparable situation, any American president should do the same. Indeed, when seeking independence the American colonists assiduously lobbied the French monarchy for aid, which turned out to be critical for their victory. (Ironically, Paris’s war with Great Britain ultimately was disastrous for France, bleeding the monarchy financially and thereby contributing to the subsequent French Revolution. More evidence that no good deed goes unpunished, which Washington should bear in mind today.) […]
The most obvious reason not to put Moscow on the list is to stop misusing a designation originally meant to apply to what most people would understand as terrorism. The practice of terrorism was recognized as a special horror and believed to warrant unique treatment. The label loses its meaning when applied for reasons other than a country’s having sponsored terrorism. It would be better to simply abolish the practice of naming countries state sponsors of terror than to continue diluting the label. Läs artikel