September 23, 2009

IT'S BEEN THE WORST KEPT SECRET IN AMERICAN POLITICS FOR 30 YEARS...:

A Cold Shoulder To Liberty (Michael Gerson, September 23, 2009, Washington Post)

In great-power politics, morality often gets its hair mussed. Every president needs room for diplomatic maneuvering. But rebuffing the Dalai Lama is part of a pattern. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has argued that pressing China on human rights "can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis" -- a statement that left Amnesty International "shocked and extremely disappointed." Support for Iranian democrats has been hesitant. Overtures to repressive governments in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and Egypt have generally ignored the struggles of dissidents and prisoners in those nations. So far, the Obama era is hardly a high point of human rights solidarity.

Those who donate to Amnesty International and put "Free Tibet" stickers on their Volvos often assume these commitments are served by supporting liberal politicians. But it really depends. On human rights, modern liberalism is a house divided. In a recent, brilliant essay in the New Republic, Richard Just describes the "contradictory impulses of liberal foreign policy: the opposition to imperialism and the devotion to human rights. If liberals view anti-imperialism as their primary philosophical commitment, then they will be reluctant to meddle in the affairs of other countries, even when they are ruled by authoritarian governments . . . that abuse their own people. But if liberalism's primary commitment is to human rights, then liberals will be willing to judge, to oppose, and even to undermine such governments."


...but it's a truth neither the Right nor the Left can face, so we all pretend not to know it: if you believe in effecting human rights you have to vote for the Christianist Republican, not the secular Democrat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2009 7:16 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« MILTON FRIEDMAN, MARGARET THATCHER, ARTHUR LAFFER, & JUDE WANNISKI ALL IN ONE: | Main | WHICH RAISES THE OBVIOUS QUESTION...: »