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Trump's Making a Big Strategic Mistake on Human Rights

Author: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
April 19, 2017
USA Today


President Trump, mercifully, has not carried out most of his campaign promises. He isn’t declaring China a “currency manipulator” and he isn’t imposing massive tariffs, at least not yet. He hasn’t done any deals with Russia or stopped all Muslims from coming to the United States. He’s even taken back his criticism of NATO as “obsolete.”

But in one area Trump has been turning out to be exactly as expected — and that is in his disdain for human rights in foreign policy. To be sure, Trump is so erratic and inconsistent that even this statement needs to be caveated in light of his April 6 cruise-missile strike against Syria, which he ordered after being shocked by the gassing of “beautiful babies.” This is exactly the kind of humanitarian intervention he once campaigned against.

But Syria aside, with the honorable exception of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the president and most of his aides are displaying a marked indifference verging on contempt for what an earlier Republican president called the “freedom agenda.”

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