Obama’s Weak Human Rights Record

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by Aaron Rhodes, Co-founder and principal investigator, Freedom Rights Project

(Please click above for full review.)

Review of
A Perilous Path: The Misguided Foreign Policy of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton & John Kerry
Anne R. Pierce, Ph.D.
Post Hill Press, 2016, 400 pages

It is widely understood, particularly among peoples who have suffered the consequences, that the Obama administration’s foreign policy has downplayed human rights and freedoms; has stressed “stability” over these principles, attempting to assuage dictatorships and murderous ideologies; and has met severe challenges with passivity and equivocation.

Anne Pierce is a University of Chicago educated political scientist, a successful author and a professional analyst of American foreign policy. Her writings are informed by an understanding that politics is not a science but a moral quest; that “value neutral” academic analyses fail to penetrate the reality of international politics, and abrogate their responsibility to make moral distinctions.

Her new book, A Perilous Path: The Misguided Foreign Policy of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, is a closely documented history of the Obama administration’s wide-ranging foreign policy failures that also shows the sources of these failures in the moral blindness of Obama’s post-modern cultural relativism and globalism. President Obama and his team have consistently downplayed individual rights in favor of a collectivistic orientation, paying attention mainly to group interests. Human rights have been interpreted broadly, not as individual freedoms as in the United States Constitution. Obama has demonstrated a “lack of passion for freedom.” Like many leftist academics, he has embraced the falsehood that the United States under previous administrations sought to “impose human rights” as something uniquely American. He has “reversed the transnational movement toward more freedom, even denouncing its objective.” Seeking to end conflict, he has been willing, even eager to compromise with some of the world’s worst human rights abusers. His unilateral concessions have been interpreted – correctly—as weakness. He has squandered the potential of American power to do good by immersing and constraining it within ineffective multilateral efforts. America under Obama has punished its friends and rewarded its enemies. Strategic alliances have been neglected in favor of reliance on the “international community.”

When Pierce lays out the cumulative (but, sadly, still unfolding) impact of these approaches, the result is shocking. The administration has downplayed anti-Semitism and the persecution of Christians, yet “American indifference made it easier for Islamist opportunists.” Obama’s equivocations (for example, calling Venezuelan dictator a “sociable guy”) have made dictators more intransigent. American has sold arms to states that violate human rights like Bahrain and Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi…