05 March 2009

05 March 2009 - Obama administration undermines justice for Hariri

In its foolish attempt to appease the Syrian regime and thereby to "pressure" Iran, the Obama administration is apparently prepared to throw justice and international law under the bus.

As his emissaries head to Damascus, they come bearing an offer: in exchange for Syrian "cooperation," the U.S. will allow Syria to undermine the special tribunal established by the UN Security Council in The Hague to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Not only is this strategy going to fail (how weakness towards one autocracy is meant to show strength to another is a mystery), but it is also going to undermine international law and cooperation in the pursuit of justice across national boundaries.

This administration came to office promising to change America's relationship with the world--to honor international law and human rights, and to represent the ideals embraced by all humanity, in a way it claimed its predecessor did not.

But the new White House has already thrown aside human rights in China and Burma, and now it is apparently prepared to crush any attempt to hold Syria accountable for its actions and discourage future assassinations.

The Obama administration treats its relationship with enemy dictators like Assad with greater urgency than it does the relationship with steadfast democratic allies like the UK. That is its prerogative; that is what he promised during the election, after all--and he won.

What cannot be excused is the Obama administration's attempt to throw democracy, human rights and international law overboard in its return to "realist" paleoconservatism dressed in the rhetoric of touchy-feely humanitarian internationalism.

It is a farce and it will set our world back twenty years. Diplomacy is great, but dictators should be come crawling to democracies to beg for talks, not the other way around, and not on the basis of demands for injustice.

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