Friday, February 20, 2009

Shocked and Extremely Disappointed

President Obama promised more diplomacy.

Secretary of State Clinton has made it known to China that anything we say about human rights, Taiwan, or Tibet, are just words. Listen to her, make an angry face at her, and then pop the bottled water out and let's talk global warming (or climate change, or whatever it is nowadays):

"We have to continue to press them," she said. "But our pressing on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises. We have to have a dialogue that leads to an understanding and cooperation on each of those."

Human rights groups, some of whom had written to Clinton last week urging her to make the matter a priority, immediately denounced the remarks.

"Amnesty International is shocked and extremely disappointed by (Clinton's) comments that human rights will not be a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China," the organization said in statement.

"The United States is one of the only countries that can meaningfully stand up to China on human rights issues," it said. "By commenting that human rights will not interfere with other priorities, Secretary Clinton damages future U.S. initiatives to protect those rights in China."

Human Rights Watch said Clinton had "made a strategic mistake in appearing to concede that she expects no meeting of the minds on human rights issues."

Wow. The human rights industry that spends most of its time criticizing America and Israel expects us to stand up to China over human rights? Oh well. Clearly they don't appreciate our new nuance. I mean, the big-brained types are in charge at State now! Stand in awe of their powers of persuasion!

Is this foreign policy trip the hope part of our new enlightened foreign policy, or the change part? I confess I get confused now and again.