Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Washington Post - Bad for Mental Health

I admit I have abandoned reading most US newspapers. However, at times I am compelled to seek out stupid. So I read the Washington Post.

The latest Hiatt editorial regarding Hillary Clinton's recent speech is stupendously moronic, but typical of the AIPAC and neo-con mentality that appears to have hijacked a formerly great newspaper.

There is this, for instance:

She offered an innovation: The Obama administration, she said, would "see human rights in a broad context," in which "oppression of want -- want of food, want of health, want of education, and want of equality in law and in fact" -- would be addressed alongside the oppression of tyranny and torture. "That is why," Ms. Clinton said, "the cornerstones of our 21st-century human rights agenda" would be "supporting democracy" and "fostering development."

This is indeed an important change in U.S. human rights policy -- but the idea behind it is pure 20th century.

First of all - he might have just as well characterized this as "soooo 20th century", dismissing freedom from want as some sort of passing phase. This is the conservative equivalent of "let them eat cake". The point made by the Secretary of State is that human rights must encompass freedom from hunger, disease, and access to education as well as supporting democracy. This is not a new policy Freddy and is fundamental to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the US is a signatory.

...and this:

Ms. Clinton said that in adding "human development" to human rights and democracy, "we have to tackle all three simultaneously." But there are two dangers in her approach. One is that non-democratic regimes will seize on the economic aspect of her policy as an substitute for political reform -- as dictators have been doing for decades. Another is that the Obama administration will itself, in working with friendly but unfree countries, choose the easy route of focusing on development, while downplaying democracy.

Hiatt is amazingly transparent here while also conveniently ignoring those parts of the speech that don't fit his view of the universe. He and his fellow travellers believe that dictators are interested in economic development in a vacuum and indulge in assuring their population are adequately housed and fed only in order to please Washington. Simultaneously, he clearly has no problem with that so long as US corporate investments (China leaps to mind) get their cut, while ignoring the non-democratic aspects of the government.

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