Recently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while in Asia, spelled out the U.S.’s priorities in diplomacy regarding human rights:

“Successive administrations and Chinese governments have been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing on those issues can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis,” she told reporters in Seoul, South Korea.

She was following her leader. A glimpse of the future of foreign policy in the Age of Obama:  Liberals Turning Blind Eye to Human Rights

Still, for anyone with knowledge of American foreign policy over the last four decades, Clinton’s remarks were jarring. It is one thing not to press a tyranny very hard on human rights; it is another thing to come out and say you’re not going to raise the issue at all. It is a kind of unilateral moral disarmament. One arrow in the quiver of American foreign policy has been our pressing — sometimes sotto voce (as in the Helsinki Accords), sometimes in opera buffa (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”) — tyrannical regimes to honor human rights. Hillary Clinton has put that arrow over her knee, broken it in two and thrown it away.

She is not the only one. On this as on other matters, she is following the lead of the man who beat her for the Democratic nomination. In his inaugural speech, Barack Obama made only the most passing mention of human rights. In his Feb. 26 speech to Congress, he devoted just 7 percent of his words to foreign and defense policy, and made just one mention of freedom.

He is reportedly poised to name as head of the National Intelligence Council a man who has endorsed China’s 1989 suppression of pro-democracy students at Tiananmen Square. He has noted with cold indifference the success of the provincial elections in Iraq.

More on Chas Freeman, the proposed head of the NIC, here.

President Obama is playing the highest-stakes poker in American history, with our lives and freedom.  Change your game, Mr. President.  You have too many tells.

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