Political Correctness and Imperialism

They go together like peanut butter and jelly

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With support for interventionism at an all-time low, the War Party is constantly on the lookout for fresh justifications of their failed and increasingly unpopular overseas meddling. The old saw about how “terrorists” mustn’t be allowed to establish “safe havens” is getting a bit stale, and was never all that persuasive to begin with: after all, the 9/11 attacks were planned in Hamburg, Germany. For the first time ever a majority of Americans think the ideal US foreign policy would be “minding our own business,” as the wording of a recent Pew poll put it. So the old tart has to put on a new coat of paint and dress up in more fashionable raiment in order to keep her clientele and perhaps even attract some new ones.

Joe Biden is just the man for the job: brazenly opportunistic and happy to bloviate at a moment’s notice, the grandstanding Vice President declared this week that “protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions,” according to NBC News.

“I don’t care what your culture is,” he said, not telling us anything about American imperialism we didn’t already know. “Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice.”

And arrogance is arrogance is arrogance: but when you’re the mightiest military power in the history of mankind – oh, excuse me, humankind – the concept of hubris is one of those “unknown unknowns,” to use a phrase popularized by Biden’s right-wing equivalent. Donald Rumsfeld’s arrogance came in a different color, to be sure, but underneath the wrapping the same product is being sold: the idea that the United States is and must be the moral arbiter and policeman of the world.

Hubris? Isn’t that a Greek dish, kinda like couscous only spicier?

The NBC report avers that the Obama administration’s effort, highlighted at a US government-sponsored conference addressed by Biden and National Security honcho Susan Rice, aims at “seeking to mobilize a global front against anti-gay violence,” but that’s just the wrapping – when you look inside, it’s something else altogether. A “Fact Sheet” put out by the White House outlines comprehensive programs that are already in place and gives us a broad overview of the principle under which they operate. Under “Country Engagement,” we are told:

“The United States regularly engages with host governments and civil society in countries that have discriminatory laws or are considering legislation that would criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between adults. We press to discourage passage wherever possible, and in cases where laws are on the books, to protect LGBT individuals from violence and discrimination that often accompany the enactment and enforcement of such legislation.”

Notice the conflation of “violation” with “discrimination.” According to the geniuses in the White House, murdering a gay person because of their sexual orientation is the equivalent of a baker refusing to prepare a wedding cake for a celebration of gay nuptials. This policy, by the way, is never applied to allies like Saudi Arabia, where the death penalty for homosexual activity is common: it’s only countries that don’t kowtow to Washington, like Russia, and relatively powerless African nations, that feel the pressure from Washington.

There’s more than just lip service paid to this new guiding principle of American foreign policy: they’re handing out lots of cash. As the Fact Sheet points out:

“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded its investments, including through the LGBT Global Development Partnership, totaling, for July 2012 to December 2013, approximately $11 million in stand-alone programs.  Funding has built the capacity of local NGOs and LGBT leaders, provided health solutions, and supported victims of violence.  In addition, through a groundbreaking partnership with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, USAID will enhance LGBT entrepreneurship and the growth of LGBT-led enterprises in up to six developing countries.  The Department of State-led Global Equality Fund is a multi-stakeholder initiative including governments, private foundations, and corporations that has provided more than $12 million since its launch in 2011 to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over 50 countries worldwide.”

Aside from the political payola aspect of this – i.e. the ability of the Obama administration to pay off its gay supporters with government subsidies and contracts– there is a disturbing pattern here. It evokes the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) model, a quasi-governmental organization that mobilizes the Chamber of Commerce (non-gay version), the AFL-CIO, and both major political parties in an international effort to meddle in the affairs of other nations and otherwise act as a “soft power” auxiliary to US-sponsored regime-change campaigns. Using taxpayer’s money and the resources of these powerful corporate and political pressure groups, the NED has been the advance guard of the Empire – think of it as a scouting party for an army waiting in the wings.

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