Saturday, February 21, 2009
Climate Change Trumps Human Rights
Secretary of State Hilllary Clinton is in China during her first overseas trip in her new position.
One would think that human rights would be at the top of the agenda. But no. Clinton is focusing on what the Obama administration feels is a more serious topic - climate change. The economic crisis and global security also top the list.
Clinton toured a modern gas-fired energy plant in China to underscore the United States' hope that the two nations will work together to reduce greenhouse gases.
All three issues are, of course, important matters. But human rights should not be automatically taken off the table.
The administration fears that talking about Tibet, for example, would overshadow these other issues. Read: make the Chinese more reticent to work with the U.S. on global warming, the economy and security.
But if the secretary of state of the United States, a secretary of state with the stature, no less, of Hilary Clinton, can't raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese, who can?
Avoiding the topic altogether squanders this opportunity to at least get a dialogue going. Who knows? Perhaps Clinton can persuade Beijing to do something about human rights. Stranger things have happened. And as the saying goes; nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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