President Barack Obama recently went to China. The New York Times wrote an article on how he skirted Chinese sensibilities especially on human rights issues. Here is a snippet:
Whether by White House design or Chinese insistence, President Obama has steered clear of public meetings with Chinese liberals, free press advocates and even average Chinese during his first visit to China, showing a deference to the Chinese leadership’s aversions to such interactions that is unusual for a visiting American president.
And the link: Skirting Human Rights Article
Now this was very interesting because his opponent in last year’s election for President, Senator John McCain recently wrote a wonderful oped piece for the Financial Times that I was going to post, but forgot to. McCain wrote about human rights on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The contrast between the two approaches on human rights could not be greater.
Most important is this: governments that embody human rights must champion them in their foreign policies – in all places, for all peoples and at all times. This is not just the right thing to do; it marks a higher form of realism. The character of regimes cannot be divorced from their behaviour. Governments that abuse and lie to their own people will likely do the same to us, or worse. Conversely, states that respect the rights of their citizens are more apt to play a peaceful role in the world. For reasons of basic self-interest, then, we must lead the long, patient effort to shape a world in which human rights are more secure for more people.
I highly recommend that everyone read the rest of his oped and the importance promoting human rights: John McCain on Human Rights