November 28, 2009
The Real Cost of Obama's Diplomacy
Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard
The Obama approach to world politics--engage, apologize, avoid friction, be humble, reach out to previously scorned tyrannical regimes--is being criticized nowadays on pragmatic grounds. A record of 10 months shows this modest approach has brought modest if any returns. Low costs, the president's defenders argue, and low risks, so it has been worth trying, even if the gains have been small.
But the Obama approach has a moral cost that is usually overlooked and that is very high for our country and for embattled fighters for human rights everywhere. It is true that we live in a Westphalian state system, but time--decades of human rights activism--has undermined the view that what a state does inside its own borders, to its own citizens, is no one else's business. Yet this...
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