On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the opening of the 16th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Her objective: try to coordinate efforts with other nations to address the situation in Libya.
But at the Human Rights Council, Libya is more than a topic of discussion — it’s a member. Moammar Gaddafi’s tyrannical regime was elected to a council seat last May with the support of 155 of the 192 U.N. member states.
Libya’s membership on the council stands as sad tribute to the utter lack of seriousness that elections for membership on the U.N.’s premier human-rights body receive from the member states. Other members in good standing include noted human-rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, now experiencing unrest of its own, is also a member. These nations have used their position to repeatedly undermine the council’s stated agenda.
Clinton and Obama's sad deference to these so-called "human rights" groups only encourage the continuing insanity and the underlying anti-freedom, anti-human rights agendas that such bodies have. Just ask yourself what sort of "human rights" a council will be advocating for with members from Libya, China, Cuba et al?
This is just another example of how dedicated the political left is to merely looking and sounding good, without actually having to have any real honesty, integrity or character. The term morally bankrupt is the short description for these pathetic groups and their enablers on the left. As I noted in that 2005 post (and it holds true even more today):
At this very moment, every issue supported by the Left, and almost all of the behavior exhibited by the Left is completely antithetical to classical liberal philosophies. There is no longer a commitment to personal liberty or to freedom. The Left is far too busy to promote freedom for the common man or woman, because their time is taken up advocating freedom for tyrants who oppress the common man; terrorists who kill the common man; and religious fanatics who subjugate the common woman.
The intellectuals who once promoted the IDEA of freedom, now are ensnared in an IDEOLOGY that depends for its very existence on the silencing of speech; the suppression of ideas; and the persecution of those who dare to refute its tenets.
Patriotism and love of one’s country is mocked by those who once fought to bring the American Dream to all American citizens; and who once championed those who were prevented from sharing in that Dream. Slowly and inexorably those idealists who once shouted, “we shall overcome,” morphed into a toxic culture promoting a never-ending victimhood that cannot possibly be overcome. Love of American ideals and values was transformed into the most perverse and vile anti-Americanism –where all things originating or “tainted” as American are uniquely bad; and where America became the source of all evil in the world.
The classical liberal tradition is now almost exclusively upheld by what are called “conservatives”. Once “liberal” was synonymous with the “left”. No longer.
What we have witnessed over the 30- 45 years since the Left ascended to dominate political thought in the mid 20th century, is its rapid and unprecedented decline into wholesale intellectual and moral bankruptcy. The noble values and ideals they once stood for have been abandoned; and almost as if a surreal cosmic joke was being played on them, they have—without even noticing!-- embraced the exact opposite of what they once stood for.
Now we have the shrill and ever-so-compassionate, postmodern "progressive" agenda, of which Obama and Clinton are prime examples. Neither is morally capable of dealing with the evil in today's world; they can barely bother to even mention it by name, let alone condemn it, except in the vaguest and mildest manner.
By way of contrast to this rather despicable approach to dealing with the world, here is Ambassador John Bolton's views on how to bring real freedom and democracy to the Middle East (Bolton IMHO really ought to be considered a presidential or vice-presidential candidate by the Republicans in 2012) (h/t The Corner):
Today's world is filled with failed efforts at democratisation. Russia has passed from totalitarianism, into democracy, and now seems to be passing right out again, regressing to authoritarianism or worse, although seemingly not of the communist variety. Lebanon's Cedar Revolution has been hijacked by Hizbollah, the Shi'ite terrorist group armed and financed by Iran. And in Gaza, Hamas, albeit Sunni, is similarly armed and financed by Iran. In short, the forms and processes of democracy can produce substantively decidedly illiberal results, as Mussolini's Fascisti and Hitler's Brown Shirts should have amply warned us in the last century.
Moreover, beyond the issue of Egypt's future government, broader US national security interests have legitimate — and enormous — claims. Americans may admire Woodrow Wilson's aspirations to make the world safe for democracy, but they actually follow Theodore Roosevelt's devastating response: "First and foremost, we are to make the world safe for ourselves." Attention to US strategic interests is not evidence of indifference to democracy, but a recognition that America's democracy itself requires its leaders to do what nation states exist to do, and as its Constitution specifically admonishes, to "provide for the common defence"
Moreover, beyond the issue of Egypt's future government, broader US national security interests have legitimate — and enormous — claims. Americans may admire Woodrow Wilson's aspirations to make the world safe for democracy, but they actually follow Theodore Roosevelt's devastating response: "First and foremost, we are to make the world safe for ourselves." Attention to US strategic interests is not evidence of indifference to democracy, but a recognition that America's democracy itself requires its leaders to do what nation states exist to do, and as its Constitution specifically admonishes, to "provide for the common defence".
Ironically, once Egyptian demonstrators verged on toppling Mubarak, the Obama Administration suddenly found virtue in demonstrations in Iran, with ringing statements by Vice-President Biden and others. By contrast, after Iran's fraudulent 2009 presidential election, the White House had been silent or even supportive of Ahmadinejad's election "victory", so desperate was it to engage Tehran in negotiations over its nuclear weapons program. Obama's sustained unwillingness to acknowledge, let alone endorse, the protesters in Iran against their totalitarian, theocratic military rulers provoked enormous criticism, which obviously stung the hyper-media-conscious White House. But while being rhetorically ahead of the media spin cycle is a mark of success at the Obama White House, as in so many other cases, rhetoric is all there is. Mistaking rhetoric for action is the Obama Administration's hallmark.
Read it all because it is very practical and extremely interesting. Andrew McCarthy sees it as a "real democracy project"; and adds a few points which I also like:
I think that would invite a hard-headed inquiry into the question whether promoting Western liberty (assuming for argument’s sake that it would eventually take hold in the Muslim world) would actually (a) make us safer from jihadist terror, and (b) undermine the broader, stealthier “civilizational jihad” being waged against us by the Muslim Brotherhood and its partner Islamist organizations. It would also call for consideration of a question of national concern that the nation never got to debate: Under what conditions, if any, should we deploy our military for the principal purpose of democracy promotion in Islamic countries? And it would invite the long overdue examination of the question whether you can promote authentic democratic culture in countries that insist on establishing Islam as the state religion and installing sharia as a principal source of law.
As I have noted previously, it is a case of rhetoric vs reality. The real question is, do we support liberty, democracy and human rights in reality? Or, do we just give lip-service to these ideas; even as all our actions in the real world encourage and enable dictators, tyrants, and the anti-freedom agendas of secular and religious thugs?
UPDATE: From Allahpundit at Hot Air:
You might think this would be the easiest of easy calls, but when you populate an ostensibly neutral international body with self-interested governments — many of them as ruthless and cretinous as Qaddafi’s — you’re bound to get perverse results. Why would China, say, take a stand for human rights in Libya when it’s cracking heads back home? In practice, these moronic UN agencies do more for fascist regimes by providing them with a little moral legitimacy by association than they do for dissidents trying to survive under those regimes.
Which is precisely why you should be root-root-rooting hard tomorrow for this loathsome body to give Qaddafi a complete and total pass. Believe it or not, there are still people in the world who take the UN’s “human rights” apparatus seriously. A great good many of them will have their minds changed if, after a week of headlines about Libyan protesters being killed with heavy weaponry, the HRC punts. If Qaddafi’s going down in Tripoli, here’s hoping he takes this ridiculous outfit with him.
Yes, let's hope for that, but I certainly wouldn't bet on it.
Plain and simple here: If the Council can’t pass a draft tomorrow that condemns Qaddafi’s regime specifically for the killing — not “we regret the killings in Libya” or whatever, but Mad Dog Must Stop — the U.S. should resign on the spot. There’s no earthly reason to remain. At best we’re tarnished by the continuing association, at worst we’re willfully enabling scum like the Castro brothers by legitimizing this stupid “human rights” credential they have. If the HRC can’t act here, it’s effectively defunct. Walk away.
Run away...but sadly, that would not be the hopeychangey priority. And that I would bet on.