Echoing his earlier praise for the Russian president, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan urged President Barack Obama to visit Russia "in a gesture of solidarity" after the country's recent terror attacks and to atone for those who have been "stiffing" President Vladimir Putin due to his oppression of gay people.
In his January 2 syndicated column, Buchanan noted recent bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd, arguing that, in light of the violence, Obama should reverse course and attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. According to Buchanan, such a move would convey Americans' and Russians' shared "detestation of and determination to combat terror."
As an added bonus, Buchanan wrote, an Obama visit to Sochi would make up for the president's "in-your face gesture" of sending "tennis legend and lesbian" Billie Jean King and other gay athletes as part of the official U.S. delegation to the games. Buchanan asserted that critics of Russia's draconian anti-gay crackdown "have already had their point made":
President Obama, in a gesture of solidarity with the Russian people, who have suffered more than any European people from Islamic terror since Sep. 11, should announce he has changed his mind and will be going to Sochi.
The impact would be dramatic. The Western boycott of the winter Olympics would collapse. The attention of the world's TV cameras, along with the rest of mankind, would turn to Sochi. Success of the games would be assured.
And who would get the credit? President Barack Obama.
A message would be sent to the world that no matter where America disagrees with Russia, terrorists do not tell us where we can or cannot go, and we stand in solidarity with the Russian people in our detestation of and determination to combat terror.
Vladimir Putin, who has his prestige fully invested in the Sochi games, would see this as a magnanimous gesture, a reaching out of America's hand, to him and to Russia.
What would be the downside?
Those who have been calling for stiffing Putin and boycotting his Sochi games to protest Russia's law prohibiting distribution of pro-homosexual propaganda to youth have already had their point made.
In an in-your-face gesture, the U.S. delegation is headed by Billie Jean King, tennis legend and lesbian, who will travel to Sochi with gay athletes Brian Boitano, the ice skating gold medalist, and Caitlin Cahow, a two-time hockey medalist.
Buchanan went on to portray Putin as a vital U.S. ally on such issues as Libya, Iran's nuclear program, and the civil war in Syria. But his affinity for the Russian president is more than strategic. In December, Buchanan hailed Putin as the global leader of cultural conservatism, writing that his anti-gay policies indicate that he is "one of us."
Buchanan's love affair with Putin has blossomed as other right-wing media figures have lauded the Russian president for stymieing some of President Obama's key foreign policy goals and presiding over horrific laws banning, as Buchanan wrote in his January 2 column, so-called "pro-homosexual propaganda."