When Jimmy Carter was president of the United States, he spoke a lot about human rights and the need to ensure that all human beings were guaranteed basic rights of citizenship.
We don’t hear that kind of talk these days from Donald J. Trump. So, as he prepares to meet for the second time in a year with North Korean dictator/despot/megalomaniac Kim Jong Un, I am wondering if he’s going to mention human rights. At all! In any form!
Reports suggest that North Korea’s human rights record ought to be a deal breaker between Trump and Kim. Yes, it should, given North Korea’s abysmal human rights record and Kim’s demonstrated cruelty toward his own people, not to mention members of his own family. Trump, though, has an affinity for despots — or so it appears. He’s chummy with Kim, with Vladimir Putin and any assortment of tinhorn dictators from Turkey to the Philippines.
It’s instructive, too, that the two men are meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam — the country that introduced the world to “re-education camps” after the communists won the Vietnam War by overrunning South Vietnam in April 1975. Re-education camp was a euphemism for concentration camps, where the communists sent sympathizers of the defeated South Vietnamese government. They were “re-educated,” all right.
So, will this be the moment for Donald Trump, the president of the world’s strongest nation, to hold Kim Jong Un accountable for the atrocities he commits against his own people?
I am not holding my breath.