President Vladimir Putin of Russia is an odious little man who formerly was a cold war colonel in the KGB and now sees himself as czar. He recently signed a dangerously vague law barring "homosexual propaganda" allegedly to protect children ("Obama knocks Putin's Cold War 'stereotypes,'" Aug. 10).
Both Russia and Mr. Putin have miserable human rights records, and U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer describes Mr. Putin as a "bully." This cruel and oppressive law, and Mr. Putin's granting asylum to U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, are offensive and deserve unequivocal universal condemnation. Though the U.S. can't impose enlightened human rights standards on another sovereign nation, and boycotting the Russian Olympics only hurts gay and straight Olympic athletes, the U.S. can make our values crystal clear.
In about 170 days, Russia intends to host the 2014 Winter Olympic games and (not unlike Adolph Hitler in the 1936 Berlin Olympics) expects to gain international respect and prestige from the event. Additionally, Russia is scheduled to host the 2018 World Cup and hopes to host the 2020 World Expo for the same reasons. The obvious response is for the U.S., United Nations and national Olympic committees to speak with one voice and tell Russia and Mr. Putin that unless they immediately revoke the repugnant laws (and perhaps rethink their Snowden decision) the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 Expo will be held in countries without such oppressive and discriminatory laws that affect participants, fans and tourists from all nations of the world.
Failing to gain respect and prestige by demands, obstruction and bullying may help Mr. Putin realize there's a better way.
Roger C. Kostmayer, BaltimoreCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun