Obama cancels meeting

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Jon Hellevig, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    He doesn't. He's just pandering to his base of cultists who are unwilling to see through his BS. The gay athletes on the Russian teams probably won't be holding a "coming out" press conference because it's not anyone's damn business what their sexual preferences are. I for one don't care.

    I said on The Kremlin Stooge blog that athletes are there to compete and win medals, not to promote their sexual preferences. For some reason, things have become so politically correct in liberal quarters of America, that pointing this out is enough for you to be tagged as "homophobic." If straight athletes aren't there to promote their heterosexuality why should gay ones promote their homosexuality? What does who one is sleeping with have to do with the games?
  2. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    He doesn't, of course, know anything about the sexual preferences of any member of the Russian Olympic team. He's just peddling this bullshit that it's against the law to be a homosexual in Russia; that if any homosexual is discovered, he's immediately beaten to death by skinhead nationalist extremists whilst the cops look on and do nothing about it; that it would therefore be against the Evil One's policy to countenance a homosexual member of the Russian Olympic team.

    All stands to "reason", doesn't it?
  3. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The most important thing I took from Obama's press conference is that the Olympic boycott campaign will now be switched off. Obama said a boycott "is not appropriate".
  4. royotoyo

    royotoyo Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I wouldn't believe one word that comes out of that scumbag's mouth. He is either a fool or an unrepentant liar. Neither description is particularly flattering.

    The current movement underway isn't for the US to boycott the Olympics but to have the location moved to another site. Look for this to pick up steam.
  5. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    "The current movement underway isn't for the US to boycott the Olympics but to have the location moved to another site. Look for this to pick up steam."

    Impossible. It would have to be approved by the IOC and they would never agree. Besides it's far too late now given that the Winter Olympics are just a few months away. It's either a boycott or nothing and Obama made clear that there is not going to be a boycott. Given that Obama has made it clear he does not support a boycott, it simply won't happen and the demand for one will now fade out.
  6. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Cameron has now also said he is against a boycott. In this he is obviously taking his cue from Obama. His comment is in direct response to the request from Stephen Fry.

    http://en.ria.ru/sports/20130810/182692350/British-PM-Cameron-Against-Sochi-2014-Boycott.html

    The point to understand is that the "boycott Sochi because of Russia's anti gay law" campaign has already achieved its purpose, which was as Patrick Armstrong rightly says to divert attention away from the Snowden affair and to cast Russia in a bad light at precisely the moment when Russia's grant of temporary asylum to Snowden threatened to cast Russia in a good light and the US in a bad light. It makes no sense to persist with the campaign further when the only effect will be to anger the far greater number of people in the west who are not homosexual and who are looking forward to the Games especially as many of them are becoming increasingly irritated at the way in which with the encouragement of the political elite militant gay rights groups have been setting the social agenda of late.
  7. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    To get a sense of what I mean in my last comment look at this opinion article in the Daily Mail written in response to Stephen Fry's call.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/a...an-Russian-music-theatre-performing-arts.html

    Please remember that the Daily Mail has a bigger circulation (including on the Internet) and much more political influence than say the Guardian. The article is full of many anti Russian clichés and on some points (eg. the absence of a minimum wage for actors in Russia) is quite simply wrong. However the article's resentment of Stephen Fry and its hostility to his call for a boycott is pretty obvious even if because of his popularity in Britain it is careful not to attack him too directly and even if it veils the resentment of its readers at the demands for a boycott by talking instead of the harm a boycott would do to the supposedly downtrodden Russian masses. If the boycott calls were to escalate further the gloves would however quickly come off. The article should be seen for what it is, a warning shot from the newspaper that represents the values of "middle England" against the metropolitan elite not to pursue the call for a boycott further. Given the decisive weight of "middle England" in elections (which explains the Daily Mail's influence) it is not surprising that Cameron has fallen promptly into line.
  8. Hero of Crappy Town

    Hero of Crappy Town Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I like that Obama has cancelled this meeting. Throughout his reign Putin has done too much to try to appease the Americans, including recently in the Snowden affair when he first appeared to be stalling and then made his offer of an asylum conditional. I think Putin putting arbitrary strings on his asylum was morally wrong. And beyond that it was undignified since Washington would have never done anything of the kind if the tables were turned — thus Moscow appeared as something other than an equal to Washington. As a somewhat pliant and junior capital. This being where I'm coming from I welcome any interruption in dealings between Washington and Moscow. The more the United States scorn Putin, the less likely he is to have an opportunity to appease them.

    Besides this, I am enjoying the ludicrousness of the move. It is hysterical how out of touch with reality the American establishment really is. They are making a point of cancelling a meeting with the Russians over the Snowden affair. Which is to say over something that shows them in the worst possible light, and the Russians in the best possible. Why do this now and draw further attention to the revelations made by Snowden, to its pursuit of Snowden — who enjoys 90% approval ratings outside the US — and to its demonstrated inability to lay his hands on him? Do they not comprehend how idiotic their move is when the entire world beyond the Rio Grande and the 49th parallel believes them to be in the wrong here? Wrong in spying on internet users and wrong in going after Snowden. It would be as if the Soviet Union had made a huge show of refusing to cooperate with the United States in something over the latter's failure to join in its crushing of the Prague Spring, or something as laughable as that.
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  9. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Didn't Obama say that he wouldn't cancel the meeting with Putin and, few days later, "changed his mind"? I wouldn't be surprised if, 1 month before the event, a boycott is called.
  10. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Impossible. Obama cannot just announce a boycott. He would have to force the US Olympic Committee to agree. They have already made clear that they strongly oppose a boycott. They have even gone on record as saying that the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was a mistake. There is simply no groundswell in support of a boycott. Trying to impose a boycott because of Russia's law would run the risk of feeding resentment amongst the great majority of people who are not gay. It would need a far bigger crisis than anything we have seen up to now for boycott calls to become effective.
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  11. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    "Impossible. Obama cannot just announce a boycott. He would have to force the US Olympic Committee to agree."

    Could you expand on that a little more? For one thing, I don't get why you cannot just announce your country is not coming, based on objections to this or that - it was my understanding that the IOC is only involved with rules and regulations pertaining to the conduct of events within the Olympic Games themselves, and that the national Olympic Committee swung even less weight than that.

    It would be helpful to know exactly how much clout the IOC has to deny or stave off a boycott, not only for my own information but because this is badly understood. I disagree there is no momentum for a boycott - in fact, special interests are busily trying to turn 2014 into "International Year Of The Homosexual", and of course gay activists and groups are giddy with the increased interest in their cause.

    The people who are promoting a boycott are not concerned with anything but short-term advantage and gain, while the gay groups are oblivious that this illusory support will melt away as soon as the objective has been achieved, while they will have to deal with a backlash of fury and hatred that will set the cause of gay rights back a generation.

    And, as has already been pointed out, Obama has an established history of firmly announcing he will not do something, and then doing it. Like when he said he was not concerned about some 29-year-old hacker and would not scramble fighters to get him, and then had the Bolivian president's plane forced down so it could be searched by American personnel owing to a rumor Snowden was aboard.
  12. royotoyo

    royotoyo Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    ^^^Gotta agree with Mark here, you can't put anything past Obmana.
  13. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Dear Mark Pavelovich,

    I can explain this very simply. Participation in the Olympics is not a government decision and deciding on a boycott is formally speaking not a decision for Obama to make. Olympics do not belong to governments but to the Olympic movement, which is a federation of national Olympic Committees. National Olympic Committees are or are supposed to be independent of the governments of their national states. The decision as to whether or not to participate in the Sochi Olympics is therefore made not by the US government but by the US Olympic Committee. All Obama can in theory do is call on the US Olympic Committee to join in a boycott. The US Olympic Committee has already made clear its strong opposition to a boycott if a call for such a boycott were made.

    I am not being naïve. The national Olympic Committees of say China or North Korea or Saudi Arabia are not independent of their governments any more than the Soviet Olympic Committee used to be. If the US government were absolutely determined to force a boycott of the Sochi Olympics it would doubtless find means to enforce it, just as it managed to enforce a boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 despite the fact that the US Olympic Committee also strongly opposed it. However given the known strong opposition by the US Olympic Committee to a boycott of the Sochi Olympics the US government knows it would have a major fight on its hands before it could force the US Olympic Committee to fall into line.

    This is the point where the political calculus becomes overriding. What possible political benefit would there be to Obama to get into a fight with the US Olympic Committee? None that I can see. On the contrary it's overwhelmingly likely that most of the US population would side with the US Olympic Committee against a boycott and against him so that the call for the boycott would leave him politically damaged. At that point it becomes a racing certainty that Obama's political enemies in the Congress would also support the US Olympic Committee against him as I vaguely remember Ronald Reagan did at the time of the 1980 Moscow Olympic boycott.

    Remember in 1980 when the US boycotted the Moscow Olympics it was still the Cold War, the USSR had just intervened in Afghanistan and in the US it was Presidential election year. Jimmy Carter wanted a boycott because he wanted to look tough by standing up to the Soviets. At the time a boycott seemed to make political sense. Nothing like that applies now.

    In the event the political calculus in the end turned out badly for Jimmy Carter. The Moscow Olympics duly went ahead without the US in the summer and Jimmy Carter went on to lose the election in the autumn. I am not suggesting Jimmy Carter lost the election because of the boycott but it certainly didn't help him and in the end it probably lost him votes. I cannot imagine Obama making the same mistake.

    I would add that in Britain even a Prime Minister as powerful as Margaret Thatcher was unable to force the British Olympic Committee to join in the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics (though she tried to do so) precisely because public opinion on the issue was so strongly against her. Cameron is a much weaker Prime Minister than Margaret Thatcher and the same would certainly be true now.

    The biggest risk to the Sochi Olympics in my opinion is not a boycott or that they will be significantly disrupted (athletes have no interest in being used as cannon fodder in someone else's political battles) or that they will become the target of terrorist attacks (the Russian security services will be working hard to ensure that doesn't happen) but that there will be attempts in the US and the west to downgrade their media coverage. That also happened with the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which were barely shown on television here in Britain. I only saw the opening ceremony of the Moscow Olympics for the first time a few years ago on YouTube.
  14. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    No need to be so formal, Alex, you know me. I just couldn't use the same ID I use on The Kremlin Stooge because I messed up the original login when creating my account.

    Of course I did not mean to suggest you are being naive. I was after information and understanding, and I think I have them now, thanks. However, I think you overestimate Obama's resolution and underestimate the weakness of his leadership. I very much wanted him to succeed as president and hoped he really could unify America, but he has failed in spectacular fasdhion to do that and at least some of the Republicans' criticism of him as a talker is justified - he is a master of soaring, inspirational oratory, and he has become accustomed to achieving his goals with it. But it is not working now, and he has publicly taken several positions over the past six months only to reverse them shortly thereafter owing to domestic pressure. The affected nonchalance over Snowden's disclosures followed by the lunge to "get him" aboard the Bolivian president's plane is only the most damaging example.

    Consider this, for instance.

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=Isinbayeva condemns homosexuality&rls=com.microsoft:*&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&gws_rd=cr&ei=PQwNUoONA4m4yQHr9IDIAQ

    Is it still possible to deny a commonality of purpose here, a collusion among the Anglospheric networks? Every single headline reads the same - Isinbayeva condemns homosexuality. What actually happened is that she was asked to comment on some of the Swedish athletes having painted their fingernails in rainbow colours to "support gay rights". If the press was being evenhanded about it, they would have used the same hot-button linkage as they do in the Isinbayeva headline to say the Swedes acted as they did because they "endorse homosexuality". In any case, Isinbayeva replied in broken English - an immediate mistake, because it leaves so much room for interpretation - that this had historically not been a problem in Russia and Russia did not want trouble. Unfortunately, she said Russians consider themselves "normal people", and that a man-woman relationship was the norm. Obviously, it is, as it is in the rest of the world. The point is, every word said in public by a Russian is now being weighed for how it can be used to shape the narrative - that Russia is a homophobic hellhole which has declared war on homosexuality, and the forces of light and freedom must come together once more to defeat darkness.

    The western press has the bit firmly in its teeth now and a clear direction - the conflict is being shaped as Russia against homosexuality when, comparitively speaking, Russian society is fairly tolerant. Every single mention of the new law describes it as "Russia's anti-gay law", and many offer erroneous information such as that talking about gay affairs on Facebook or wearing a rainbow T-shirt will get you sent to prison. There are not even any considerations of prison in the law, it is an administrative offense punishable only by a fine. And there is plenty of interest in escalation, and the press is an eager accomplice. The sauce has gone out of the vodka boycott as if it never happened, and the narrative promptly shifted gears to Sochi. I am afraid we must consider a boycott as a serious possibility, and perhaps the beginning of the end of international sport as we know it.
  15. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    There's a misunderstanding here. I never thought you were saying that I was naïve. My point was that I am not so naïve as to believe in the myth of the independence of national Olympic Committees from their governments or that a boycott would not happen if the US government was determined to force one.

    For the rest, I agree with your view of Obama. I have to say I was always more cynical of him than some people I know. However I have come round to the view that beneath the florid rhetoric there is an altogether more conventional and more conservative politician than many anticipated. I would add that as the Snowden affair illustrates, behind the façade of cool rationality Obama has a peevish side.

    If I have to say what I find most infuriating about Obama, it is that he is so secretive and continuously leads from behind leaving it to others to front for him. I have come round to your view that he is the true architect of the US's Syria policy yet he left it to Hillary Clinton to make the running. He should never have tried to dissuade Putin from standing for the Presidency (that is not his business) but if he was going to take that approach he should have said that to Putin himself. Instead he sent Biden to Moscow to do it. He hid behind Cameron and Sarkozy in the attack on Libya. On Snowden he is once again letting Kerry and Biden do all the work and has been giving misleading information about intercepting aeroplanes with Snowden on board.

    Not surprisingly with a leader like this, other world leaders don't know where they stand with Obama and it is striking how completely friendless he is. Contrast that with the close relations that say Reagan and Clinton had with various world leaders. I get the distinct impression that Putin was actually more comfortable dealing with Bush, who at least was a known quantity. As it is (and I am not the only one to say it) it's clear despite Obama's denials that he and Putin cannot stand each other.

    As for the damaging effect on Russia's image of the law and the way the law is being misrepresented, I completely agree with you. My point was not to dispute that but to say that a boycott is not going to happen. Despite the campaign underway of that I am sure.
  16. Sky Fisher

    Sky Fisher Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I agree (and I'm an American !). Putin certainly has the moral high ground, on the Snowden affair as well as many other subjects. I would have preferred to see Putin meet the Snowden situation with less hedging than he did, but since then I've accepted that it was a matter of diplomacy. The condition attached to the asylum, that Snowden cease the information leaks, was of course pretty meaningless. By that time everyone knew that Snowden had already provided a lot of information to others and thus would have no realistic control over its release. I'm guessing that Putin framed this condition to give a reasonable veneer of diplomatic cooperation without actually caring if Washington was "embarrassed" by further information. And, of course, the condition to "stop embarrassing" Washington also has a good sarcastic ring to it. Brilliant, really.

    Obama and his cohorts deserve all the embarrassment they get, and then some.

    I'm so glad that most people in the rest of the world support Snowden and recognize that the US has become, quite frankly, a true evil empire. I would like to add, though, that a lot of Americans feel the same way. I forget which Washington tool it was who described Russia's asylum grant to Snowden as some kind of insult to all Americans (it was either Graham, McCain or Schumer- all odious creeps). That made me furious. Last I looked, surveys were showing that Americans supported Snowden by a pretty comfortable majority.

    (By the way, I'm a regular reader of your Crappy Town site- one of my favorites !)
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