It is as hard as ever to know how much credence to give the report in today’s Kommersant newspaper that the Obama administration has done a backroom deal with Moscow in which it has agreed to self-censor on Russian human rights violations.
As The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding, points out, Hillary Clinton took time out of her Moscow trip this afternoon to meet human rights activists, which knocks a bit of a hole in the story.
But the Obama White House has indisputably put the Bush democracy agenda on the back burner, if not taken it off the stove altogether. In his speech to the UN general assembly last month, the president spelled out the four pillars of his foreign policy which were non-proliferation, the pursuit of peace, combating climate change and the rebuilding of the global economy.
This is a long way from Bush’s second inaugural speech, which made America’s new manifest destiny the promotion of democracy across the world. In Obama’s UN address, human rights made an appearance principally as the right to life under the peace and security heading.
As for the rest, Obama’s message was: “America will live its values, and we will lead by example”. For example, by closing Guantanamo. [continued…]