The United States plans to order sanctions against Russia, Vladimir Putin, and his inner circle in response to the military attack on Ukraine. But US Representative Eric Swalwell believes that more should be done.
Forbes reported that Swalwell suggested expelling Russian students from all US colleges and universities to further punish Russia for its actions.
“Frankly, I think closing their embassy in the United States, kicking every Russian student out of the United States, those should all be on the table,” he said.
“I’ve laid out a number of options we should consider if Putin doesn’t back off. That is just one of them,” Swalwell told Tal Kopan from the San Francisco Chronicle. “So is closing their embassy. Reducing their role at the UN in NY. Cut their visas for UN employees. The goal is to isolate Russia. Make it clear they are a pariah state.”
Swalwell claimed that “current and former intelligence community members” proposed expelling Russian students “as a way to increase unrest in Russia” and that the measure had received support in the Fox News comments section.
Unsurprisingly, many oppose the idea. Critics pointed out the futility and injustice of targeting innocent students not even remotely connected to the invasion.
“This is empty hawkish posturing that would punish students while doing nothing to help Ukrainians,” tweeted Matt Duss who works as a foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Kyle Kulinski, a progressive podcast host, also condemned the proposal, calling Swalwell a bigot because “all Russians are not to blame for Putin’s imperialism.”
“Students should never be used as pawns in an international conflict, and we should know this by now,” said Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Executive Director Miriam Feldblum in an interview.
Soon after the backlash, Swalwell tweeted a revised list of suggestions to neutralize Russia, deleting his proposal to expel Russian students.