Saturday, March 21, 2009

Advocates worry Obama easing human rights stand

by Steven R. Hurst

March 13th, 2009

Excerpts from the article:

"We fear she (Sec. State Hilary Clinton) may be setting this tone as a signal to the rest of the world that human rights are not going to be one of the main issues for the administration," said T. Kumar, Amnesty International advocacy director for Asia.  "Trade and security should not be promoted at the expense of human rights."

"Part of her challenge diplomatically is going to be able to work on many fronts," said Amnesty International's Curt Goering.  "The United States cannot be credible on any issue unless it remains credible on human rights."

Obama and Clinton will likely face even stiffer criticism as they move forward with a policy designed to repair U.S. standing globally.  They are trying to show world leaders that DC is once again determined to engage the world through diplomacy rather than what critics saw as the Bush administration's tendency to rely on diktat.

I thought this article was very interesting and a good talking point.  After the recent visit of Clinton to China and her announcements pertaining to human rights, do you think that the Obama administration will proactively become the diplomatic force in the world theater; one similar to Obama's platform prior to election or do you think that the status quo will not change?  Do you think that the new administration can mend relations with other countries concerning human rights and if so how long will it take to build these relationships?  Is there change that we can believe in?  Using Goering's rationale, if the administration does not gain credibility in human rights where else will it lack credibility, and with that can there still be change? Lastly, do you think the government will chose finances over human rights and do you think any nation would choose the latter before the former?

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