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Sunday, October 11

Nobel Peace Prize: Steve Diamond catches Barack Obama palming an ace; Pundita catches up with Nobel Peace Committee advisors

Thanks to RBO blogger Procrustes for fashioning the pictures and text I sent her into a right proper blog post; visit RBO at this link to see the fun I had tracking down some Norwegian advisors to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

Professor Stephen Diamond's latest post at his King Harvest blog, which he's given me permission to republish here, is his take on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. This is not the first time Steve has spotted Obama and his advisors practicing verbal sleights of hand but in this case the rigged card game has gone global; that's very bad news for human rights advocates around the world.

Obama gets the Nobel - human rights movement gets the boot
by Stephen Diamond on October 9, 2009 ยท

Norwegians must not be reading the papers these days. Consider Obama's recent record:

1) Sending Valerie Jarrett to Dharamsala to tell the fellow Nobel Prize winner Dalai Lama that he was not welcome in Washington D.C. until after the visit of Obama to Beijing later this month. To the Dalai Lama's credit he came anyway. The Dalai Lama, together with Vietnamese Buddhist leader Thich Nhat Hanh, is the symbolic representative of a massive Asian Buddhist movement for peace and democracy particularly in countries like Tibet, Burma and Vietnam. Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize by Nobelist Martin Luther King.

2) The Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center, a widely respected human rights NGO based in New Haven, CT, has lost its multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of State, as Obama presses his case to talk to the Iranian mullahs. The Center is widely seen as one of the few independent western voices that keeps an eye on human rights violations in Iran, particularly important in the wake of the repression of the mass uprising there recently.

3) A decision to "engage" the Burmese generals while they continue to jail Burmese leader and fellow Nobelist Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since she won an election in Burma in the early 90s. Her detention was recently extended on trumped up charges in order to prevent her from participating in upcoming elections.

4) Hilary Clinton told the world that the US would not allow human rights concerns to interfere with efforts to negotiate with China on other issues such as financial relationships and climate change. Even the Washington Post admitted the negative impact of her words: "Ms. Clinton's statement will have an effect: It will demoralize thousands of democracy advocates in China, and it will cause many others around the world to wonder about the character of the new U.S. administration."

The "theory" behind these moves appears to be something the Obama regime is calling "strategic reassurance" and liberal support for it is manifest. Yet the democratic left should be concerned. This is a rehash of what we in the anti-apartheid movement of the 70s and 80s ridiculed as "constructive engagement." Back then the argument was that American corporations should pull out of apartheid South Africa. The standard corporate response was "we do more good than harm." It was likely true that inside a GM plant in South Africa conditions were slightly better for some black South Africans, but the legitimacy thereby gained by the racist government far outweighed that advantage, and the movement based in South Africa itself supported our effort to force divestment.

Engagement, then, is a myth. The primary concern in places like central Asia and Asia proper for both the Chinese and the Americans is stability. Mass movements for democracy and human rights -- like those underway in Iran, China, Burma, Tibet, Vietnam and elsewhere -- threaten stability.

This suggests to me that the reason the Obama regime has taken on board such prominent advocates of human rights as Samantha Power (at the NSC) and Harold Koh, Sarah Cleveland and Michael Posner (at the State Department) is that their job, whether they realize it or not, is to help Obama pare back US support for human rights in order to support the new policy of "strategic reassurance" -- and it is clear who they are reassuring, not the mass movement but the authoritarian regimes in power over so much of Asia and elsewhere today.

Fortunately, an alternative approach -- the withdrawal of US military might in order to allow genuine democratic movements to flourish -- is being articulated by some such as this statement from the New York Campaign for Peace and Democracy.

This year, 20 years after the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize and the Chinese Communist Party suppressed the Tiananmen democracy movement, Oslo should have taken more seriously the nomination of Chinese human rights activists, which is rumored to have occurred. [1]

1) Associated Press: China dissidents top Nobel Peace Prize speculation; October 8, 2009
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