By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
For four years the words “human rights” were rarely uttered by the president of the United States.
Now they have returned to the presidential vernacular. President Biden’s statement this week after the release of intelligence on the death of a prominent Washington Post columnist includes a fulsome statement about the need to protect the rights of all human beings.
The report blames Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, for ordering the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Post columnist and critic of the Saudi regime. President Biden has refused to sanction the man known as MBS, fearing some long-term harm to U.S.-Saudi relations. I wish he would have dropped the hammer on MBS, but that’s another story.
As for the human rights mantra, I welcome its return to the top of our foreign policy pecking order.
We must stand in this country as a beacon of individual liberty and respect for the rights of all humanity. Only the president of the United States can speak to that priority and only the POTUS can alert the world that we mean it when we invoke those rights for everyone.
Human rights did not get much attention from Donald J. Trump. Indeed, the ex-president sought to curry favor with despots and dictators, such as, oh, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, by proclaiming some sort of bizarre “love affair” with him. Of course, Trump infamously refused to criticize Russian bad boy Vladimir Putin for anything, let alone for the way he treats those who live under his ham-fisted rule.
I hope those days are gone. I also hope to hear much more from President Biden on the value he will place on human rights. May he say it loudly and often going forward.