Obama’s Human Right Failure

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There were also hints of Obama’s ambivalence toward human rights and democracy-building in his inaugural address. Although he informed “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent” that they “are on the wrong side of history,” he blithely promised to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

In his first year in office, he not only extended an open hand of friendship to the likes of Venezuela’s Chavez and Putin’s puppets, he averted his gaze and was virtually mute during Iran’s failed Twitter Revolution. The sad irony of Obama’s quiet, cold and calculating reaction to the stirrings of democracy in Iran was that it answered his own rhetorical question of a year before, albeit in a manner his supporters would never have imagined: “Will we stand for the human rights of…the blogger in Iran?” he asked as a candidate, during his speech in Berlin. We learned the answer in Iran.

As his first term progressed, he pressed for a “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations, premised largely on atmospherics and appearances. The photo-ops, grinning handshakes and treaty-signing toasts were more important, apparently, than Moscow’s strangulation of the rule of law and democracy.

In a similar way, craving the imagery and optics of a successful summit to highlight the differences between him and his predecessor, Obama cancelled a 2009 meeting with the Dalai Lama. True, Obama would meet the Tibetan leader a year later, but the world took notice of the president’s cave-in, and Beijing got what it wanted.

It was also in 2009 that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, announced, “The foreign policy of the United States is built on the three Ds: defense, diplomacy and development.” Noticeably, strikingly, jarringly absent was something nearly every administration since Woodrow Wilson has, at least rhetorically, promoted: democracy. In fact, this fourth “D” has defined U.S. foreign policy from the very beginning. Tellingly, in her unveiling of Obama’s “three D” foreign policy, Clinton never even uttered the words “democracy,” “freedom” or “human rights.”

Finally, Obama used a recess appointment to post an ambassador in Damascus to talk with the thugs who run Syria. The U.S. hasn’t had an ambassador there since 2005. Given Syria’s actions in Lebanon and Iraq, the younger Bush and his advisors concluded that having an ambassador in Damascus did no good, so not having one would do no harm. They were right.

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security issues.

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  • http://www.chick.com Raymond

    Obama the destroyer is NOT interested
    in "human rights." The truth is, much evil
    has been done under the banner of
    so-called human rights.

  • aspacia

    Truman's air lift was a strategy to halt Communist expansion more than human suffering. This strategy is what pulled us into the Korean and Vietnamese conflict.

    • ajnn

      The US policy was twofold: (i) supporting allies and promoting democracy and (ii) containment of the expansionist / imperialistic Soiet/Chinese axis.

      As Americans, we can be proud of this policy pursued at great risk and cost in pursuit of human dignity and freedom.

      • aspacia

        Was Truman aware of the communist massacres? I am unsure regarding this. Also, many historians argue that we used Fat Man and Little Boy as a ploy to intimidate Stalin.

        Do not misunderstand, I do believe Truman was correct using the A bombs to prevent a million allied casualties. Communism is a threat to our capitalism, and Truman was a habadasher who strongly believed in capitalism. I do not believe his only intention was altruistic. At the moment, we send millions in foreign aide to many lands, including many corrupt Middle-Eastern, human rights violating dictators, for our strategic interests, not our interest in preventing human suffering.

  • StephenD

    "There were also hints of Obama’s ambivalence toward human rights…."  Hints? I'd say it is blatant when he allows our tax dollars to continue to support regimes that, in violation of OUR LAWS, employ child soldiers. Specifically he has allowed a wavier for Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Sudan to continue to receive aid from us while using children as soldiers. Why do you think these countries? Could it be that Muslim Sudan was about to face a vote by the southern Christians to form their own country? Do you think they would use children?  All these countries would have no compunction to using children since the ends justify the means. His speech in Tucson about the loss of a 9 year old girl "seemed" heartfelt. IF he really cared for children or human rights, why on earth would he allow for this wavier at all? Someone should call him on this hypocrisy.

  • gerard okofo

    In DR Congo, A country were people were naturally friendly toward USA ( Gospel influence), Bill Clinton then, and now Obama are backing an impostor Joseph Kabila(criminal) who is a Puppet of Kagamé… The united states Helps Uganda and Rwanda to instal a governement puppet in Congo to the damn of congoleses people strife for real democraty. Joseph kabila with his mentor Kagame of rwanda have committed a genocide in the Congo(well documented).. No body cares as long as nations are looting Congo natural resources at the misery of the populations..

    • ajnn

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      It is an outrage and an affront to the values and history of the United States that our government behaves in this unconscionable way.

      Please make these points not just here, but on every internet space that you can find.

  • flameofjudah

    Everyone should accept that as far as Obama is concerned, he is a completely empty suit. A bad actor who is learning on the job how 'to act' presidential. Unfortunately for all enslaved and burdened people of the world, there is no "there" there…

    Pity …

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      thank you listen to savage nation

  • camp

    Obama believes in totalitarian regimes, descent is to be ridiculed or ignored, he is doing the same thing here. This administration doesn't want to encourage descent or revolution in countries they admire and seek to emulate.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    Human right are in fact a tool being used on us all, it is a tool to keep people in line and to murder millions.

  • Yoshi11

    In order to understand why Obama has been AWOL on the question of human rights, we need to understand his position on Islam — which is not even hinted at in this article. Obama is doing everything politically possible to advance the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood and to appease Moslems and the Islamic world. It is not secret that the entire Islamic world — all the Moslem-majority countries plus the leaders of the Moslem communities in non-Moslem countries reject the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Instead, they all subscribe to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which asserts the legal superiority of Islam over all other religions, and which makes all human rights subject to Sharia law. These two declarations of human rights are totally incompatible with one another. Obama knows that any move to defend human rights will strike at the heart of Islam and the Islamic world. Since his avowed purpose is to appease the Islamic world, he will never push human rights. Instead of pushing human rights in Saudi Arabia, for example, he bows to the king of Saudi Arabia.

  • hijinx60

    Obama's dismal failure on human rights can be seen in the fact that he listed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Comission over the passage of AZ's SB1070. I haven't been able to find out, but I would bet that it is the first time that a nation has been reported by its' own leader.