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US Travel Advisory Now A Political Tool

The year 2017 and 2018 has given a new addition for US & British foreign policy arsenal against their international political rivals. The once somewhat neutral foreign travel advisory is being used where the right-wing establishment owned media has failed.

The US government received much criticism from its own citizens last week on Twitter when it sent out a travel advisory warning against Russia in a time where it is actively promoting and funding Russian opposition groups & politicians.

For years they have sanctioned Russia and pushed their European allies to do the same, at times threatening those that does not support the US sanctions on Russia. The aim is to cripple the Russian economy so that the citizens of Russia will blame their own government for their hardship. It backfired when the Russian economy found alternative self-sufficient ways to counter any US backed sanctions.

Knowing that the sanctions have clearly failed, the US government have now moved to claim that Russia is an unsafe country to visit for all Americans tourists and businessmen. Americans and others around the world was quick to tweet their criticism of the US advisory, questioning why other countries like Ukraine that has ongoing military violence have no similar travel advisory against them.

Since these governments are unable to control individual travelers from traveling to where they want, the best way to do it is using political propaganda that is associated with the tourism industry – in this case the Foreign Travel Advisory alerts.

The current British Government led by the British Conservative Party had sent out a travel advisory against the Maldives in December 2017. The Conservative Party is very unpopular with the British people in poll ratings and represents the interest of some of the wealthiest private businessmen in UK.

It also has close relations with Richard Branson who himself has good relations with some Maldivian opposition figures. Hence these inner political networking that goes on behind the public eyes mostly finds itself unnoticed to most people who are not directly active in politics.

The United States itself for whatever reason has now joined its close ally to send out a similar advisory against the Maldives to try and possibly scare first time travelers from visiting the world-renowned paradise.

Thousands of international high-end travelers visit the Maldives every month and have mostly found their holidays completely peaceful and very contradictory to what they have read or heard on major international news channels.

One of the worst claims against Russia and the Maldives is where it implies the possibility of imminent terrorist attacks against foreigners. To this date, there are countries including US and some European nations that have had more foreign and domestic terrorist attacks than Russia or the Maldives.

What we do not see them do clearly is giving travel advisory to foreigners visiting the US and UK to be cautious of their own Western homegrown terrorists that have caused so much terror to holiday makers in London, New York, Paris, Barcelona and others destinations.

Obviously, we can understand why a government would not send out a travel advisory against itself. However, what else can the international community do but to openly show their utter skepticism and anger for these countries using their travel advisory as a political tool against those nations which do not support their right-wing foreign policy.

The international travel advisory is meant to give a politically neutral stand to travelers, keeping in mind that if it is misused, it can in fact put travelers in danger due to their own government’s incompetency. Just imagine a country that is dangerous being given absolutely no travel advisory alert by the US or the British government. Just what if, a family and their kids gets caught up in life threatening violence that could have been avoided if the travel advisory was politically unbiased and based only on the safety of the travelers.

In a time where western governments are shifting towards more right-wing hardline policies, it could be that, it is better for travelers to request sites like TripAdvisor to start their own politically neutral & unbiassed travel advisory alerts.

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International Relations & Security Strategist, International Businessman, Human Rights & Transparency activist, former Senior Member of The Maldivian Democratic Party & close relative to two former Maldivian Presidents.

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