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Realists often hold a simplistic view of great-power relations, asserting that any humanitarian pressure on Russia or China will cause the whole edifice of global order to crumble. This precludes the possibility of a mature relationship with other nations in which America both stands for its values and pursues common interests. - Michael Gerson

The trouble with this advice is that the U.S. will only apply its values selectively. For all the neoconservative sanctimony on this subject, human rights and democracy, et. al. are really only issues if the country's geo-political orientation is disagreeable. If you're aligned with the U.S., you're free to treat women like chattel slaves and crucify people.

Now, you can argue that that's clever statecraft - to hold up a set of "values" as universal and argue that they must anchor American foreign policy when dealing with competitors, while shamelessly carving out exceptions for ruthless but properly behaved "allies." But is that a foreign policy that actually respects American values? I'd say not.

UPDATE: Stephen Walt has some good thoughts on the matter as well.