E.J. Dionne praises President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for defending democracy and human rights in his new column, “Obama Abroad: Democratic Realism:”
It was gratifying to hear a despotic leader blame the United States for the rise of a democratic protest movement against his regime.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, wants his people to think that those who have taken to the streets to express their rage over rigged elections are nothing but tools of American foreign policy, put to work by none other than Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“She set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them,” Putin said, offering a conspiracy theory straight out of a bad thriller. “They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department’s support.” Did the former KGB guy who runs Russia discover this among his old Cold War memos?
The first week of December was an extraordinary time for Clinton. Not only did she declare that the Russian elections were “neither free nor fair” and criticize governments that “fail to prosecute those who attack people for exercising their rights or exposing abuses.” She also gave what will be seen as a historic speech to a United Nations group in Switzerland describing gays and lesbians as “the invisible minority.”
Who thought an American leader would ever say the following? “It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.”