Gay Rights to Weigh In U.S. Foreign Aid Decisions

An interesting bit of news from the Associated Press:

The Obama administration will begin considering how countries treat gay and lesbian citizens when making decisions about allocating foreign aid, an official familiar with the decision says.

The White House is expected to issue a presidential memorandum announcing the change Tuesday morning. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will follow up the announcement with a speech in Geneva later in the day.

The presidential memorandum is the first U.S. government strategy to deal with human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the announcement before it was announced.

That’s going to be a rather difficult needle to thread, considering how homosexuals are treated in certain strategically important countries that receive a good deal of foreign aid from us.  Western culture is so busy flaying itself for insensitivity to certain groups that it loses sight of places where those groups are literally flayed.  If the Administration is serious about this initiative, it might be on the verge of picking a fairly large fight with the Islamic world.  Which, to be perfectly candid, makes me wonder just how serious they are about this.

Should we be infusing special-interest politics into foreign policy debates?  Shouldn’t we be making foreign aid conditional on the respect for all human rights, rather than singling out gays and lesbians?  When you take a principled stand against barbaric treatment of any minority, you don’t have to single out particular minorities.  If the Administration is determined to produce a list of specific groups that must be treated well in order to earn U.S. foreign aid, how about including women, Christians, and Jews?

There are quarters of the world where gays and lesbians are physically abused, and killed, on a horribly routine basis.  I wouldn’t mind demanding a solid commitment to ending such violence as a condition for foreign aid.  They shouldn’t be the only group cited prominently, because they’re not the only one targeted for violence and widespread discrimination. 

And after we finish “starting from zero,” as Rick Perry put it during one of the GOP debates, and forcing every dependent nation to meet strict humanitarian criteria for every dollar we give them, let’s apply the same standards to membership in the United Nations.  We pay a lot of money for that organization.  It would be nice if we could take it somewhat seriously.