Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a distinct dip in the United States’ LGBT posturing after Crimea’s reunification with Russia?
Between the second half of 2013 and the Sochi Winter Olympics (Feb 7-23), it looked as if the West’s finicky carousel of moral indignation could not swivel beyond gay rights.
Some of us hidebound folks had actually stopped to wonder whether a lanky brown figure – dressed up as a Drag Queen – would lead a charge of the oppressed in Sodom’s version of the Exodus, proclaiming “hope and change” in very presidential tones.
A CNN report on Aug. 4, 2013 typified the West’s wrath. There were calls for protests and boycotts as “international” anger grew over Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. Even vodka was not sparred. Besides the motley mix of celebrities and media stalwarts, Western politicians flung the dainty gauntlet at Russia by skipping the opening ceremony. They included German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, US Vice-President Joe Biden, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.
An Al Jazeera Op-ed’s call for a Sochi boycott was not without its ironies. For one, it must have escaped the writer’s attention that Qatar retains the death penalty for homosexuality or that Doha owns Al Jazeera. And here is a further twist: Russia had decriminalized homosexual activity between consenting adults in private as way back as 1993 and the age of consent is the same as that for heterosexual couples. It does indeed forbid public manifestations of “homosexual propaganda.”
The American sense of justice, however, never stops tilting. For a while it looked as if the Sochi extravaganza might keel over from a mass boycott. Enormous foreign policy and media resources were diverted for an Olympian triumph of the pink will. Gay activists Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow were especially picked to lead the US opening ceremony delegation as they allegedly represented “the diversity that is the United States.”
Those of us dependent on the global K-Economy and the merits of ideation began to get worried as we would be further sidelined in a rampant “diversity economy.” Too many nations had too many discriminatory policies that led to the impoverishment of ideas and economies. We were producing too many Barack Hussein Obamas for our own good!
Even traditional symbols of truce and fraternity no longer mattered. Martina Navratilova discovered that Russian anti-gays laws made it impossible for intellectuals like her to separate sports from politics. This contrasted with lessons learned during my schooldays: the Olympics were instituted to separate sports from national rivalry and enmity.
When the leader of the self-styled “free world” redefines “values” and “rights” along the lines of public sexuality, the world becomes reduced to a borderless Obamanation.
Top US administration officials attacked nations from Russia to Uganda during this frenzy period. Kampala had approved a proposed law criminalizing public homosexuality around the time of the Sochi Olympics. Smart Third World students who were inexplicably rejected for US and UK study awards earlier began to wonder if their re-application prospects could be improved by the coy confessions of being closeted gays. Merit mattered less. Much less!
The decades-long color-coded revolutions were now turning pink. Green carnations blossomed everywhere. The demand for tight lederhosen was never better.
Out of the blue, Vladimir Putin threw a potent herbicide at this floral bloom, beginning in Crimea!
How Crimea was ‘Lost’
While Obama and company fantasized of a propaganda triumph in Sochi, the parade grounds of Sevastopol echoed with the silent conspiracies of yet another military legend. This feat will be studied by generations of young military officers worldwide. On Feb 26, pro-Moscow Ukrainian and Russian comrades fanned out, sans official epaulettes and insignias, to take over vital infrastructure all across the Crimean peninsula.
Amazingly, not a single shot was fired. By Feb 28 – arguably within a 48-hour makeshift operation – they had effectively reunified Crimea with Russia. It took the world by complete surprise. Private toasts were offered to Russia worldwide. The Western media contemptuously described these soldiers in Martian terms, as the “little green men” in balaclavas. The makeshift Crimean militias knew what was at stake; the Balkans in the 1990s and impending atrocities in Lugansk and Donetsk rightfully vindicated their fears of remaining within Ukraine. A popular referendum later overwhelmingly endorsed their actions, but not to the satisfaction of the West!
During this critical window period, the US intelligence community relied heavily on military and civilian communications intercepts as well as the now risible social media evidence. Somehow, those little green men weren’t giving away clues via Twitter and Facebook. Dozens of US security officials, ensconced just a ferry ride away in the Sochi Olympic village, failed to pick up any unusual chatter across the Straits of Kerch. Scores of Western journalists in post-coup Ukraine were almost as clueless.
Despite the gross intelligence failure, US officials and politicians promptly exonerated themselves. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein declared that US intelligence assets had already been moved to re-focus on the region. If that was true, wouldn’t the US possess a treasure trove of evidence, on top of satellite data and imagery, on the downing of Flight MH17 on July 17?
According to a March 7 Town Hall article, Crimean entry into Russia was the logical outcome of a US foreign policy rooted in “unseriousness.” The writer just could not find a stronger, proper word to describe the juvenile surrealism of US foreign policy. This “unseriousness” stretched the boundaries of ridicule. Secretary of State John Kerry identified climate change as “threat multipliers” to national security during an Asian tour.
The temperature was indeed soaring in Eastern Ukraine, and somewhere in Pennsylvania Avenue, where the President and his men appeared clinging to a wilting dream that had phalanxes of male-sized pink tutus marching free-style in Kiev and Moscow…
The Roseate Cornerstone of US Foreign Policy
Till the aftermath of the Crimean crisis, gay rights appeared to predominate Obama’s foreign policy priorities. This was underscored by National Security Advisor Susan Rice during a meeting with top US diplomats on March 11 – five days before the Crimean Referendum
According to the Daily Caller, Rice “devoted far more space and time to militant advocacy for gay liberation, while she painted diplomats as the heroic champions of gay rights.” The original speech went a few steps further, with Rice reminding US envoys that “that there are times, such as when the threat of mass atrocities is imminent, that it is appropriate to join with others in using force to protect the innocent.”
This statement did not refer to the mass murders fomented by US arms, propaganda, funding and diplomatic support in Syria, Iraq and Eastern Ukraine. Instead, it was a statement straddled between sentences that specifically referred to the LGBT community. The atrocities perpetrated against Christian, Alawite, Yazidi and Shia minorities in Syria and Iraq – the Holocaust of the 21st century – did not merit a single mention. Neither did ISIS, ISIL or IS.
Why was the US National Security Advisor advocating global gay rights diplomacy? Did LGBT discrimination really affect national security? I can think of ways when it did—when many rising career diplomats, military officers and national security officials were dropped in favor of the “diversity” crowd!
Rice concluded on the usual self-delusional note: “The world looks to the United States. What’s more, the world counts on the United States.”
Strange! Hardly anyone in Asia – home to half of humanity – harbors that ridiculous view. But it does take time for delusions to wear off.
On the very day Crimea was retaken for Russia, the Sunday Review headlines in the New York Times – Tussling Over Ukraine; Gains and Grave Setbacks for Gay Rights – inadvertently captured the new foreign policy dilemma. How will the US agitate over Eastern Ukraine and gay rights concurrently under the present circumstances? It will have to drop the latter in favor of the former. Lots of oil contracts alone were at stake and they were worth a lot more than the outer channeling of the presidential persona.
Obama palpably ceased public criticism of Russia on gay issues from March onwards.
At the end of the day, does the US leadership really care about LGBT or any other issue? Or does it want to clone additional Obamas and Obama group-thinking for the purpose of “global governance”? Think about it.
For the time being, the diversity crowd has been beaten back, and the lessons learnt here can be summed up by a personal paraphrase inspired by that timeless English rhyme:
For want of a green carnation, Russia was sought
For want of a pink parade, Crimea was ‘lost’
This could be the unofficial anthem of the Obama administration which still cannot accept the fact that Crimeans had exercised their own free will to decide their own future. But the concept of “We the People” is just as much an anathema to Barack Hussein Obama as is the Constitution of the United States of America.