Britian's Conservative government is taking a "tough love" approach to foreign aid, threatening to withhold millions of dollars to countries that persecute gays and lesbians. The southern African nation of Malawi has already had its payments sliced by about $30 million, after it sentenced a gay couple to 14 months of hard labor for holding an engagement party. Fellow "anti-gay" countries Uganda and Ghana could lose millions, too. "I want Britain to be a global beacon for reform," says Prime Minister David Cameron. Is this a good use of foreign aid?
Bravo, Cameron: This is a "bold and necessary move" on Britain's part, and other countries should follow suit, says Brandon Rolph at Instinct. Plenty of African leaders brutally persecute gays, and homosexuality might even be punishable by death soon in Uganda. That's unacceptable, and "since it seems like money is the only thing that politicians can understand," Cameron is certainly "coming at this problem from the right angle."
"British official says aid will be cut off to African countries..."
C'mon. Britain's priorities are ludicrous: "All persecution is worse than deplorable," says Hal G.P. Colebatch at The American Spectator. But if Cameron is so gung-ho about taking "his homosexual rights crusade to the Third World," he should also slash aid to, say, the religious bigots in Pakistan. But I guess those "victims of persecution are only Christians, who don't count." By focusing on gays, he's just making "a naked declaration of cultural imperialism."
The plan is great, even if the motives are rubbish: Treating gay-hunting nations as "pariah states" is "a welcome move, even if it is long overdue," says Melanie Phillips at Britain's Daily Mail. But it's also a shamelessly cynical, "brilliantly PC solution to Mr. Cameron's political problem with overseas aid." This plan allows Cameron "to nod to his Conservative critics" by slashing aid, while simultaneously softening his party's image by "posing as an apostle of gay rights."
"An act of shameless cynicism on foreign aid..."