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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 28 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 13
Obama beats Putin with LGBT stick
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Obama beats Putin with LGBT stick

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Speaking in Brussels March 26, after a meeting with EU and NATO allies, President Obama sought to win support for sanctions against Russia by raising a litany of criticisms against Russian President Vladimir Putin, including Putin's notorious anti-Gay laws.

In his only policy speech in a four-day visit to Europe, Obama accused Putin of being a menace to 'our very international order.'

Russia's annexation of Crimea and its military threats to the Ukraine isolated Putin from the rest of the international community, Obama said.

'If the Russian leadership stays on its current course, together we will ensure that this isolation deepens,' the President warned.

In making the case for a united European and American stand against what he characterized as Russian aggression, Obama turned to the issue of LGBT rights.

'We believe in human dignity - that every person is created equal, no matter who you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or where you come from,' he said.

Later in the speech, Obama again brought up LGBT rights, asserting that the U.S. and Europe shared a tolerant culture that was missing in Putin's Russia.

'Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights,' he said. 'Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That's what will make America strong. That's what will make Europe strong. That's what makes us who we are.'

Obama's European tour was intended to convince EU and NATO leaders that they should support his program of economic sanctions against Russia, in spite of the many banking and trade ties that link Europe with the Russians - and in spite of any perceived Russian military threat.

To reassure them of the U.S. commitment to collective security, Obama also reportedly promised direct military aid for more exposed countries close to the Russian border.

'There's no question that NATO is prepared to defend any ally against any aggression,' a senior U.S. official told CNN.

'To reassure them, we do think we should take additional steps. We've already deployed Baltic air policing, additional planes over the Baltic countries. We've deployed an aviation detachment to Poland.

'We are looking at doing more things like that. We'll be discussing very specifically what more can be done in terms of signaling concrete reassurance to our eastern European allies.'

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