Commentary Magazine


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Always Last

Obama is nothing if not consistent when it comes to promoting human rights and democracy. He’s really not for promoting either when doing so could endanger “engagement” with despots, attempts to appease authoritarians, or when it could displace other priorities, or challenge conventional Foggy Bottom wisdom. He’s certainly not going to place those concerns above “building multilateral institutions” whose members trample on both. In other words — any time it matters, Obama doesn’t really have anything to say in support of human rights and democracy advocates.

Michael Rubin (no relation, regrettably) writes:

First Obama fumbled the human-rights agenda with Russia. Then China. Then Burma. Then Iran. Then Syria. Then Iran again. Now it’s Turkey. President Obama yesterday showered Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with praise: “I’m pleased that I’m able to call Prime Minister Erdogan personally a friend. I’m grateful for his trip here and look forward to many years of collaboration with him to observe both the prosperity of the American people and the Turkish people.”

Not a word on Erdogan’s embrace of Sudan’s president and Erdogan’s dismissal of any Sudanese responsibility for mass murder in Darfur. Not a word on Erdogan’s personal embrace not only of Hamas, but of the most militant and rejectionist leaders in that movement. And not a word on Erdogan’s personal war on the free press in Turkey.

What happened to “honesty” and talking truth to power in our dealings with other countries? That we are not getting anything for this suck-uppery and are in fact eroding our influence and moral standing in the world while green lighting thuggery seems not to matter to the Obami. The only question is which thugocracy will Obama flatter or try to bribe next. North Korea seems to be a likely candidate.