The dubious motives of the Trump administration
Francesco Corso, Staff Writer
We tend to think that the word has generally become more accepting of LGBTQ people than ever, and to an extent that is true. In the West (territories that generally include the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe) that is very much the case, as a large majority of countries in that group have legalized same-sex marriage and the general tone of society has gravitated towards acceptance. Yet despite that, significant parts of the world, such as Russia and much of the Middle East, are much less accepting. In many countries, particularly in most of the Middle East and parts of Africa, homosexuality is punishable by prison time and even death. Recently, however, the Trump administration has launched a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality throughout the world. This comes as great news to LGBTQ people in the roughly 70 countries that still have laws that criminalize LGBTQ status or conduct. Yet despite this, something about this news seems off and should be taken with a grain of salt.
It is first worth mentioning that it is absolutely imperative that the absolutely abhorrent human rights abuses that come with these laws be stopped. The issue comes more so with the potential motives of this initiative. This question must be asked, especially since Vice President Mike Pence has been a long time opponent of LGBTQ Rights in the US and the fact that the Republican Party has long been tied with groups like the Family Research Council, who are noted anti-LGBTQ extremist group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Furthermore, Trump has the overwhelming support of white evangelicals, who largely oppose LGBTQ Rights. This begs the question as to what the reason is for launching an initiative that seems to come out of left field and is so off-brand for the Trump administration.
The answer can be discovered pretty easily when you look at the timetable of this announcement. This push is largely in response to the reported hanging of a young gay man in Iran, a country that has consistently been a top geopolitical foe for the Trump administration. This is even more notable given that Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany and the highest-profile openly gay person in the administration, has been an outspoken critic of Iran and has been continually attempting to pressure much of Europe into abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal. With this context, it seems like Grenell is attempting to reframe the conversation around Iran in order to convince European nations to re-impose sanctions.
The biggest concern about this course of actions isn’t the possibility of re-imposing sanctions, which may allow Iran to continue its Nuclear Program uninhibited, but rather the possibility of war with Iran. Multiple people within the Trump administration, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, seem to support this as a potential option for dealing with Iran, who literally said that “the declared polity of the United States of America, should be the overthrow of the mullah regime in Tehran.” The fact that this man is now one of Trump’s top advisors is extremely concerning because the United States has had a troubling history of forcing regime changes throughout the world, especially in parts of Latin America. Most notably is the time that the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government and instated a right-wing dictator known as the Shah, remembered for his extremely brutal rule until he was overthrown in a revolution that led to the formation of the current government, who have been decidedly anti-Israel and anti-America since its formation.
If there’s anything that should be gleaned from this is that the United States should most assuredly make a push for improving human rights across the world, but there should be no path at all that leads to war or the overthrow of the regime. It has never ended well in the past, and it will never end well. This should be noted especially as Trump is pushing to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela, which could have catastrophic consequences on a country with serious economic issues already. Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it and, given our current course, it seems like those in power have.