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Values, Human Rights Central To U.S. Foreign Policy

New York Times: John McCain: Why We Must Support Human Rights
John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona

“…In a recent address to State Department employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance our national interests. With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: … [W]e make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. … There are those who will credit Mr. Tillerson’s point of view as a straightforward if graceless elucidation of a foreign policy based on realism. … What I’ve learned is that it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible or to consider our power and wealth as encumbered by the demands of justice, morality, and conscience. In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment. … Human rights exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. … Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. … To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity, and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three…” (5/8).

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