After my Tuesday morning post on the South Dakota Legislature’s failure to join other states in taking action against Russia for its naked aggression against Ukraine, Senator Joshua Klumb did roll out Senate Resolution 702, a measure “urging support for the people of Ukraine.” SR 702 declares, “the Senate stands with the people of Ukraine during this desperate time and strongly urges the United States Government to utilize all political, diplomatic, and military means, including lethal and non-lethal security assistance, to support and strengthen the defense of Ukraine, as the battle for Ukrainian lives and liberties continues.” The House has introduced no similar measure.
SDPB’s Lee Strubinger says that SR 702’s call for helping Ukraine with all military means, including lethal security assistance—that’s Senate-speak for stuff that kills people—does not mesh with House Concurrent Resolution 6006, which says the President and Congress should not deploy any military forces without an official declaration of war or authorization of force and “follow the Just War theory when contemplating foreign intervention”… but as I look at that vague language, it strikes me that HCR 6006 and SR 702 could stand side by side. Declare Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unjust; declare the preservation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, democracy, and human life just; authorize arms shipments and a no-Russian-flies zone over Ukraine; and both resolutions are satisfied. SR 702 doesn’t say Congress and the President can’t formally authorize the use of force or declare war to protect Ukraine.
But Senator Klumb does demonstrate his party’s lack of imagination and reading:
Republican Sen. Joshua Klumb brought the Senate resolution. He’s concerned about the quickly changing conflict.
“Because we don’t know in the next few hours what’s going to happen over there. It’s a moment-by-moment situation,” Klumb says. “I know this is a resolution, but if this is all we can do, then I would ask that you support this resolution. I wish we could do more, but right now this is all we can do — and pray” [Lee Strubinger, “SD Senate’s Pro-Ukraine Resolution Advocates Use of ‘Military Means’,” SDPB, 2022.03.01].
Senator Klumb, if you read yesterday morning’s post, you’d see a big list of and links to concrete policy actions other states are taking to support Ukraine and punish Russia for its crimes against civilization. Terminating contracts with Russian firms, divesting from Russian holdings, banning the sale of Russian goods… and don’t forget: South Dakota has all those trusts on Phillips Avenue that may be housing Russian oligarchs’ ill-gotten gains.
The Senate could pass an emergency law requiring an immediate audit of those Sioux Falls accounts and the immediate seizure of any Russian assets.
But somehow Senator Klumb can’t think up any practical actions like that, actions that might make certain wealthy interests uncomfortable. Instead, Senator Klumb says all we can do is pass one resolution and pray.