Trump’s Cynical Use of Human Rights

2/12/18
 
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from The New York Times,
2/12/18:

President Trump usually makes no effort to disguise how little he cares about human rights. In May, during his first overseas trip after his inauguration, he assured Arab despots and Muslim leaders in Riyadh, “We are not here to lecture.” He called President Xi Jinping of China “a very special man,” praised Egypt’s military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for doing “a fantastic job” and hailed the bloodstained President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, with whom he boasted of having a “great relationship.”

Yet as bad as Mr. Trump is when he ignores human rights, he is also corrosive when he speaks up. Perhaps the most disingenuous moment in his State of the Union address last month came when he condemned North Korea’s dictatorship and saluted Ji Seong-ho, a brave man who escaped famine and persecution there. Put aside the most obvious hypocrisy: Refugees like Mr. Ji are imperiled by Mr. Trump’s contempt for immigrants and slashing of refugee quotas. Rather, the deeper problem is how Mr. Trump sporadically invokes the suffering of foreigners when he thinks it promotes United States strategic priorities — in this case, the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

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