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Claude Cartaginese

U.S. Seeks to Sit With Despots at U.N. Council

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Posted on April 29 2009 7:49 am
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the appeasement-minded Obama administration will be reversing a policy of the Bush administration and will now run for a seat on the the inaptly named United Nations Human Rights Council. Should it succeed in getting a seat, the U.S. will take its place alongside other bastions of freedom, such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba.

“Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,” said Mrs. Clinton. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system. . . . We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.” 

Perhaps Mrs. Clinton can hold up, as an example of living freely and participating fully in society, the model of the religious theocracy of Saudi Arabia, where the “religious police” can pull you aside and beat you for minor transgressions, and where women are forbidden even to drive; or Communist China, where you are forcibly sterilized if you exceed your one-child quota. And does anyone remember the Tienanmen Square Massacre?

The Human Rights Council was established in March 2006, ostensibly to replace the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which lost international credibility after countries with abysmal rights records, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, were allowed to join and thwart criticism of their actions.

The Bush administration, unconvinced that the new rights body represented much of an improvement over its predecessor, refused to join. At the time, John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when the Council was created, said that the United States would have more “leverage in terms of the performance of the new Council” by not participating in it and thus signaling a rejection of “business as usual.”

What is the Council up to lately? Unfortunately, more of the same. Last week, for example, the Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Pakistan and other Islamic states that condemns the “defamation of religion” as a violation of human rights, arguing that abuses against Muslims have mounted unjustifiably in the years following the 9/11 terror attacks. 

If the U.S. succeeds in taking a place alongside these despotic regimes, it will be, as Bolton said last week, like “getting on board the Titanic after it’s hit the iceberg.” Added Bolton: “This is the theology of engagement at work. There is no concrete American interest served by this, and it legitimizes something that doesn’t deserve legitimacy.”

Mr. Bolton is correct in his assessment.

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