Monday, September 14, 2015

the kissingerian realist view of mexico is....?

firstlook |  The U.S. loves human-rights-abusing regimes and always has, provided they “cooperate”: meaning, honors U.S. dictates. On human rights abuses, such compliant regimes “get at least a free pass”: at least, meaning either passive acquiescence or active support. The only time the U.S. Government pretends to care in the slightest about human rights abuses is when they’re carried out by “countries that don’t cooperate,” in which case those flamboyant objections to abuses are used by U.S. officials as punishment for disobedience: to “ream them as best we can.”

This is not remotely new, of course, nor should it be even slightly surprising for people who pay minimal attention to the role of the U.S. Government in the world. But this nonetheless highlights what baffles me most about U.S. political discourse: how – whenever it’s time to introduce the next “humanitarian war” or other forms of attack against the latest Evil Dictator or Terrorist Group of the Moment – so many otherwise intelligent and well-reasoning people are willing to believe that the U.S. Government is motivated by opposition to human rights abuses and oppression.

Support for human rights abuses and tyranny – not opposition to it – is a staple of U.S. foreign policy. Standing alone: how can anyone believe that the same government that lavishes the Saudi regime with arms, surveillance capabilities and intelligence is waging war or using other forms of violence in order to stop human rights abuses? [Read this informative New York Times article today describing the central role played by the U.S. government in the ongoing, truly heinous slaughter of Yemeni civilians by its close Saudi ally, consistent with the months of Yemen-based reporting done by The Intercept on these atrocities].

If one wants to spout the Kissingerian “realist” view that only U.S. interests matter and human rights abuses are irrelevant, then fine: one can make that argument cogently and honestly if amorally. But to take seriously U.S. rhetoric on human rights abuses and freedom – we’re going to war against or otherwise sternly opposing these monstrous human-rights abusers – is totally mystifying in light of U.S. actions. The next time you’re tempted to do that, just read what U.S. officials, in their rare, candid moments, themselves say about how they cynically concoct and exploit human rights concerns.