The Daily Beast

Antony Blinken Demolishes Mike Pompeo’s Twisted Human Rights Approach

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The beat-down that Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered this week to his predecessor Mike Pompeo was so severe that it might have to be included in next year’s State Department Human Rights report. As it happens, Blinken’s explicit and implicit critique of his predecessor came in conjunction with the release of this year’s edition of the State Department rundown of human rights abuses worldwide.

The report itself was largely compiled by the State Department in the last days of Pompeo’s tenure. But adjustments made by the Blinken team, the way Joe Biden’s secretary of state framed the actions and attitudes of Pompeo, and key steps taken to undo some of the damage done by Donald Trump’s chief diplomat were brutal in their directness. As it happens they were also warranted, delivered in a way that made it absolutely clear that American foreign policy was once again going to be guided by our national interests and shared values and not by the political ambitions of Pompeo or the extreme views of the right-wing evangelical faction to which he catered.

The Trump administration’s gross mishandling of issues associated with human rights both at home and abroad has become one of the worst stains on its record. At home, it systematically attacked freedom of speech and of the press and undermined the right to assemble and protest, as well as the right to vote and the right to equal protection under the law. There were numerous calls for Trump to be brought before the International Criminal Court to answer for human rights abuses against immigrants at our border. And of course, by the time Trump left office he had actually launched an all-out assault on democracy itself, the right of a people to self-determination that had been the reason the United States was founded in the first place.

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