Monday, June 25, 2012

Carter on Obama

Nowhere in yesterday's New York Times op-ed does former president Jimmy Carter mention Barack Obama, but his lament concerning the failure of American leadership on human rights is clearly a shot fired across the bow of the current administration.  Not that the Obama administration bears sole responsibility for a situation in which, by President Carter's count, the United States now finds itself violating "at least 10" of the 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The slide that began with the Bush administration's response to 9/11, according to Carter, "has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public."  We all bear responsibility.

Where American human rights policy is concerned, President Obama has much left to do to effect the change that he promised in the 2008 campaign.  In some cases (for example, the use of drones to carry out extra-judicial killings of suspected terrorists, some of whom have been U.S. citizens), he has adopted the misguided policies of the Bush administration so that change now requires a 180-degree turn.

President Carter was right to call the current administration to account.