Human Rights, Ha Ha
Imagine that in his more sober moments between binges and bimbos Charlie Sheen was wont to lecture us on probity and decorum. Wouldn’t that be a fun thing? At least as chucklesome is the irony of Washington’s mendacious moralizing on human rights. In recent days, the Obama administration has been slagging the Chinese on that score. Beijing is, to be sure, guilty as charged. But China’s leaders have the right to their cynicism about the provenance of the accusations. Indeed, if I were the Chinese foreign minister and Hillary Clinton started hectoring me about human rights, I would simply read the following list by way of reply:
Batista in Cuba, Duvalier in Haiti, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Somoza in Nicaragua, Rios Montt in Guatemala, Lopez Arellano in Honduras, Pinochet in Chile, Stroessner in Paraguay, Noriega in Panama, Perez Jimenez in Venezuela Galteri and Videla in Argentina, Mendez in Uruguay, Rojas Pinilla in Columbia, Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, the Greek colonels, Mobuto in Congo, Savimbi in Angola, the apartheid regime of South Africa, Idriss in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt, Ben Ali in Tunisia, the Saud family in Saudi, Hussein and Abdullah in Jordan, Saleh in Yemen, Al Khalifa in Bahrain, Saddam in Iraq, the Shah of Iran, Suharto in Indonesia, Diem and a succession of generals in Vietnam, Chiang in China, Marcos in the Philippines, Rhee and Park in South Korea. And that’s without mentioning the Bush family’s profitable dealings over the years with A. Hitler and the bin Laden clan.
Those are just a sampling of the long list of murderous monarchs and martinets that Washington has installed, armed, advised and otherwise underwritten in recent times. I haven’t checked Tacitus in a while, nor have I recently read an account of the British Empire. But just off the top of my my head, I would venture that no nation in history has sponsored more dictators in more places than we freedom-loving Americans.
You can add to that the facts that the U.S. has by far the biggest prison population on the globe, and that, uniquely among first world countries, it treats torture as a debatable public policy option rather than a criminal evil. Indeed, we are the first country to globally franchise pain parlors.
One reason China is finding so much success in the world economy is that it trades with everyone, good and bad, and dispenses with the cynical and sanctimonious lectures that our empire inflicts on an increasingly hostile and mocking world. How about our leaders either put up by cleaning up their own act or simply shut up?