The Trump Administration And Human Rights

Jul 17, 2017

With the death of China’s Nobel Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, we look at human rights under the Trump administration.

China’s only Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, died in state custody last week. He was China’s highest-profile political dissident. He died silenced. Then he was cremated and his ashes dropped at sea, leaving no place for admirers to rally. The White House said President Trump was “deeply saddened,” but the same day Trump called Xi Jinping a “great leader” devoted to doing what’s right for China. This hour On Point: Human rights and the USA in the time of Donald Trump. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chris Buckley, China Correspondent for the New York Times. (@ChuBailiang

Sarah Margon, Washington Director at Human Rights Watch. (@sarahmargon

Sarah Snyder, Professor in the School of International Service at American University. Author of “Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network.”

Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. (@Gundisalvus)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Liu Xiaobo’s Fate Reflects Fading Pressure On China Over Human Rights — “Lobbying China over its harsh prison sentences for dissent and its other shackles on citizens’ rights has never been an amicable conversation; progress has long been spotty. But Mr. Liu’s case reflects how Western pressure on China’s human rights problems has decreased, while Chinese leaders have become adept at using economic and diplomatic lures and threats to thwart it.”

The Conversation: Can Congress Pressure The White House On Human Rights? — “As a historian of U.S. foreign relations, I have studied many instances in which members of Congress and nongovernmental activists have pressed the White House on human rights. This history offers important lessons for members of Congress and the public who fear Trump’s administration is downgrading the U.S. commitment to human rights with its ‘America first foreign policy.'”

POLITICO: Does Trump Care About Human Rights? — “The Trump administration and the president himself appear to be wrestling with human rights policy and so far, human rights policy is losing. The administration’s key policymakers are paying too much attention to the arguments and assurances of rulers and too little to their opponents (who are often tomorrow’s government officials), and American officials appear to be adopting a transactional approach to foreign policy that systematically underweights the value of America’s association with and support for liberty. One can only hope that this is the product in good part of inexperience, and that as with the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, officials will come to see that realism itself demands a foreign policy that advances the cause of freedom.”

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