9:02 PM, Mar 3, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Ellen Bork, writing at the Foreign Policy Initiative:
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov just steps away from the Kremlin was shocking but, sadly, not entirely surprising. Mr. Nemtsov, 55, a former deputy prime minister and member of the Duma, had become a leader of the democratic opposition to the authoritarian rule of Vladimir Putin. Now he is the most recent and most prominent of Putin’s murdered critics.
Nemtsov was killed two days before he planned to take part in a march against the war in Ukraine and for democracy in Russia. He and his fellow democrats have been clear that the two are connected. Putin, they argue, is not motivated by an innate drive to restore Russian greatness or respond to NATO’s expansion in the 1990s. Rather, he seeks to distract attention from his authoritarian rule, corruption, and dismal economic record by mobilizing the Russian people against an external enemy, in this case Ukraine, lest it become a model for Russians of a successful, Europe-oriented democracy right next door.
Regrettably, the Obama administration refuses to accept this reality. To do so would require a fundamental change in its policy toward Russia, which ignores the relationship between the nature of the Putin regime and its behavior abroad. Instead, the White House and its European partners prefer to treat Putin’s aggression in Ukraine as a discrete matter, just one of many issues about which the West seeks to engage with Putin. This stubborn belief has persisted even after Putin has flagrantly violated yet another ceasefire in Ukraine.
Not even Nemtsov’s murder seems to have shaken the flawed assumptions about Putin’s Russia that guide U.S. policy. President Obama must know that the “prompt, impartial, and transparent” investigation he called for is impossible. Nemtsov and fellow opposition leaders, journalists, and others are vilified by Putin as a fifth column and enemies of the state. Putin has placed himself in charge of the investigation and delegated it to the state body that leads the persecution of his critics.
Whole thing here.
11:33 AM, Feb 18, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the release of a United Nations’s Commission on Inquiry’s report on human rights in North Korea. The U.N. report laid out, in devastating detail, what we’ve known for all too long: Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship is the Westboro Baptist Church of regimes – almost comically evil.
7:06 AM, Feb 12, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a possible Republican presidential candidate, is using a crowdsourcing platform to try to reach dissidents and human rights activists in autocratic regimes. In particular, Rubio is trying to help those oppressed by the governments of Iran and Cuba.
"I'm a member of the U.S. Congress looking for Iran and Cuba human rights cases to highlight," the headline for Rubio's post on the platform Movements.org reads.
12:10 PM, Jan 20, 2015 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a principally Middle Eastern phenomenon. It exists among non-Muslims through wide areas of Africa.
12:01 PM, Dec 31, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Coming on the heels of President Obama's Cuba announcement, the State Department is condemning the "Detentions of Activists in Cuba."
12:04 PM, Nov 17, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
As Saudi Arabia undergoes its slow process of change, the matter of women and motor vehicles remains crucial. On October 24, Saudi women were summoned by a social media campaign to take to the roads in cars they own, typically, but do not drive.
8:15 AM, Jul 2, 2014 • By ELLEN BORK
In a 2007 article in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, “Let a Hundred Flowers Be Crushed,” the Chinese lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, told of being followed by security agents every year around the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 massacre of democracy protesters. Pu responded by ushering the agents to a conference room at his law firm and screening The Lives of Others, the 2006 Oscar winning film about an East German Stasi agent who protects the playwright he is spyin
7:31 AM, Jun 23, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
With much of the Obama administration's foreign policy in tatters, John Kerry is clear on at least one goal he hopes to achieve by the end of his time as secretary of state: having lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ambassadors representing the United States.
12:20 PM, Dec 12, 2013 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
Sometimes a handshake is more than just a handshake. When President Obama warmly embraced the late Hugo Chávez at the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, he lent respectability to a brutal autocrat who had crippled Venezuelan democracy, terrorized his political opponents, and supported both the Iranian theocracy and the Colombian FARC. When then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hugged Ecuadorean leader Rafael Correa during a visit to Quito in 2010, she made Correa seem like a normal democratic president, rather than a thuggish Chávez acolyte who had persecuted independent journalists and gravely weakened his country’s public institutions.
12:15 PM, Sep 24, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
In his speech today at the United Nations, President Obama continued his administration’s odd and somewhat schizophrenic policy with respect to freedom, human rights, and democracy.
6:10 AM, Jul 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a war veteran, gave an optimistic speech about Afghanistan yesterday on the floor of the House of Representatives:
7:44 AM, Jul 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Human Rights Foundation has released a statement slamming pop star Jennifer Lopez for receiving "$10 million for serenading crooks and dictators from Eastern Europe and Russia." HRF is a human rights organization, which questions 5 recent performances by the singer.