Thursday, September 22, 2005

Free Pass to Select Allies

A presidential commission stated that Cambodia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Cuba and North Korea should be sanctioned for human rights violations - specifically with regards to human trafficking - but a free pass was given to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Ecuador. (LA Times: No Sanctions Against Allies With Poor Record). Reasons given for the waiver include the need for cooperation in our war on terror, and a need to further bolster democracy in Ecuador.

US action against human rights violations around the globe is one of the worst hypocrisies we openly commit. With the exception of Venezuela, who has oil that we could use, none of the other countries on the sanctions list has anything of value to the US. One might argue that Venezuela has nothing either since Chavez is actively looking for alternative buyers for their oil in an effort to halt shipments to the US without crippling their economy. Once he accomplishes that, then Venezuela is of no interest to the US either.

Conspicuously absent from the list is both China and Russia. China has never been in line for any humanitarian awards, being one of the worst human rights violators in the world, yet the US continues to bestow "Most Favored Nation" status on that repressive regime. Russia is one of the world's largest exporters of children in the illegal child pornography market, and that country appears unable to stop the trafficking. Like China, however, Russia remains a major US trade partner.

The message seems pretty clear. If you have nothing to offer, then sanctions are justified for your transgressions. If, however, you are a potential trade partner with the US, then here's your free pass. Talk about hypocrisy.


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