One of the more interesting aspects of the Old White Men Who Pretend To Be Woke Debate last night was the discussion of which opposed authoritarian regimes more.
They both claimed to be against authoritarianism and for human rights, but Bernie Sanders praised the progress made under Castro against illiteracy and in China’s economy, while accusing Joe Biden of being soft on the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Biden made the point that Sanders consistently praises Communist authoritarian regimes as he did in the 1960s on the Soviet Union.
But neither of them had anything bad to say about authoritarianism in Iran or Turkey.
This part of the debate was most illuminating:
Joe Biden: Why did you vote not to sanction the Russians?
Bernie Sanders: You know why? Because I had every … you keep talking about Iran that was tied to Iran. Russia was in Iran. I think John Kerry indicated his support for what I did. That was undermining the Iranian agreement. That’s why.
Suddenly, the Iran agreement – to prop up a regime that is so authoritarian that it mandates how women must dress – was considered more important than human rights to Bernie Sanders. Biden also rushed to take credit for sending billions of dollars to Iran as part of a sham agreement, money that directly goes to Syria and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad who are hardly poster children for human rights.
Similarly, in response to Sanders’ praise for China’s progress in boosting its economy, Biden slammed him for ignoring the million Uyghurs in Chinese prisons.
Even the Cuban literacy program that Sanders praises came on the back of tens of thousands of citizens who were forced to become teachers against their will, teaching course materials that were all pro-government propaganda, with success proven by forcing the newly literate to write letters of praise to Castro.
An unintentionally ironic tweet during the debate from Jewish Voice for Peace highlights the hypocrisy of those on the Left who pretend that human rights is their major platform:
These are people who pretend to support Palestinians and yet they never say a word about the authoritarian Abbas and Hamas regimes, which shut down freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and are against LGBTQ and women’s rights. Not to mention JVP’s silence on human rights abuses in Iran, or the discrimination against Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt.
They are all hypocrites.
The Right doesn’t care about human rights any more than the Left does. They will use it as a tool to demonize the other side without really caring about the victims of human rights abuses in nations they are allied with. The difference is in who they choose as their allies – the Right in America will tend to support nations who support the US, while the Left seems to want to coddle America’s enemies in an always vain attempt to get them to change.
Politics will beat human rights every single time – even, and especially, among those who claim that human rights is the center of their concerns. It is time to stop pretending otherwise.
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