Example: John McCain justifiably criticizes the terrible way he was treated as a POW
by the people he was dropping napalm on – burning them to death –
in violation of international law
Independence Day is a celebration not just of America’s independence, but also of the values that are important to our nation, like liberty, democracy and human rights.
Recently, former President Jimmy Carter suggested that America should be a little less self-congratulatory and a little more self-critical. He was concerned that America is abandoning its role as a leading advocate for human rights.
Professor Barnett can’t spell “hypocrisy” I guess.
There is no doubt that both the Bush and Obama administrations have trampled on fundamental human rights norms on the grounds that certain sacrifices must be made in order to protect American national interests. The question naturally arises: Couldn’t the United States have found ways to fight terrorism without turning human rights into collateral damage..?
The United States has been coming to this conclusion every day of every year since the Brits turned over the mantle of Western Imperialism to Uncle Sugar after the end of World War 2.
We have made good strides. In the last 10 years, the United States has been one of the largest supporters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, despite the fact that the Red Cross makes it a point to remind the United States and other governments of their commitments to international humanitarian law. The Obama administration has championed women’s rights and reproductive health, children’s rights, religious rights and other areas of central concern to the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. And although the United States still refuses to become a full-fledged member of the International Criminal Court, it has begun to play a supporting role…
The strength of our battle for values domestically qualifies us for the WWF pantywaist class.
During the Cold War, successive administrations indulged dictators on the grounds that it was necessary for containing Communism. Shamefully, the United States did not ratify the genocide convention until 1988…The world ratified the International Criminal Court in 2002 without our participation…Simply put, the United States has championed human rights when it sees no damage to its security and economic interests. But when human rights are perceived as potentially detrimental to national interests, the United States has consistently chosen interests over values.
As a citizen of the world, I’m hard-pressed to praise a nation with several hundred military bases in hundreds of countries around the world as the leader in human rights.
No doubt politicians in Rome’s Forum gave themselves equal plaudits for leadership — on a similar scale of hypocrisy. Patting yourself on the back for human rights delivered by the barrel of a gun requires a measure of dexterity that came as easily to Caesar as it has to Bush and Obama. I’m not impressed with this level of political game show.
In point of practice, I see no contradiction between supporting commerce and human rights. It takes a bit of intellectual and diplomatic effort – certainly beyond the ken of news-as-entertainment and ideology-as-politics. But, it can be done and has been by politicians in the leadership of many organizations and nations. Just not the United States for the last seventy years or so.