Visa joined dozens of other Western companies this weekend when it cut off “all Visa transactions” in Russia. You should think twice, however, before cheerleading the financial services company for banning citizens’ transactions in an attempt to fight back against Vladimir Putin.
Visa’s decision to divorce its brand from Russia is part of a global push to punish the Russian regime for invading Ukraine. According to Al Kelly, chairman and CEO of Visa Inc., “we are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed.”
While it might be tempting to commend Visa for going to bat for the suffering people of Ukraine, the credit card company does not deserve any praise for executing its decisions based on a political agenda and pushing Russia even closer to communist China.
Kelly claims that “this war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values,” but guess what happens when Visa’s values don’t align with people at home? Unfortunately, you don’t have to guess. Visa, which is regularly badgered by leftist activists to cut off conservatives, has a history of throwing fits over both global and domestic policies that don’t align with the company’s increasingly left-wing values.
Shortly after the events on Jan. 6, 2021, Visa’s political action committee cut off donations to American politicians to absolve the company of any role in “inciting violence.” The company claimed that “we are vigilant in our efforts to deter illegal activity on our network, and we require our affiliate banks to review their merchants’ compliance with our standards.”
Dozens of other financial institutions also announced penalties for users they believed played a role in the events at the Capitol riot. After a federal probe was launched, Bank of America gladly handed over the records and data associated with users who made purchases in the D.C. area on or around Jan. 6.
In early 2021, GoFundMe pledged to nuke fundraisers hosted by users or groups who questioned the integrity of the 2020 election. More recently, the fundraising company, at the behest of the government, tried to punish Canadian truckers protesting for freedom from tyrannical governments by stealing their millions of dollars and pledging to redistribute the money to its own list of leftist charities. The company ultimately decided to return the donations after it faced backlash but did not apologize for buying into the lie that the truckers were “a threat to our democracy.”
Venmo, JPMorgan Chase, and other companies have long histories of cutting off certain users because of their political affiliations too. Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter also have a running list of politically-motivated censorship sins that they committed after encouragement from the federal government.
Do we really want companies that habitually smear conservatives as violent insurrectionists to be the ones developing U.S. foreign policy and deciding global affairs? The same companies that fell over each other to donate to Black Lives Matter after rioters wreaked havoc on businesses, churches, and government buildings don’t need to be deciding who needs to be punished at home and abroad.
Global financial companies have been emboldened by events in recent years to make political decisions that have massive consequences. But when we cheer private companies motivated by leftist elites for deciding who should be politically punished overseas, we’re inviting them to keep doing it here.