What's Up With the 'Reset?'
Commentators have heaped criticism on the Obama administration for failing to forcefully advocate for human rights in countries with oppressive regimes. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who earlier this year suggested that human rights shouldn't interfere with other elements of the U.S.-China agenda, isn’t letting the Russians off the hook. In Moscow on Wednesday, Clinton, among other things, warned an assembly of students at Russia’s most prestigious university that "citizens must be empowered to formulate the laws under which they live.”
In an innovative society, people must be free to take unpopular decisions, disagree with conventional wisdom, know they are safe to peacefully challenge accepted practice and authority.
That's why attacks on journalists and human rights defenders are of such great concern.
In an interview with Echo Moskvy, one of the few independent media outlets left in the country, Clinton also called on the Russian government to denounce the “criminal elements” responsible for such attacks. High atop the list of attacks deserving such attention are the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who had investigated Russian military intervention in Chechnya, and, more recently, of her associate Natalya Estemirova.
Clinton’s statements, perhaps, were not as stinging a rebuke as the regime might deserve. But her commendable words are another indication that the Obama administration won’t remain tastelessly silent on such matters as it seeks a “reset” of relations with the regime. And, yes, they might not do much more than provide comfort in solidarity to Russian activists and students. But that is reason enough.
| October 14, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Categories: Stromberg | Tags: Stephen Stromberg
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