Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama and Sri Lanka

There's a post at The New Republic blog, The Plank called, "Obama's First Humanitarian Crisis." The author, Mark Leon Goldberg, praises Obama's response to the Sri Lankan/Tamil War, saying that his actions are

encouraging to those who believe that human rights--in name and deed--should enjoy a prominent place in American foreign policy.
For those of us that do not agree with such Carter-esque foreign policy priorities, Obama's actions are much less encouraging. 

According to the article the Obama administration is

"appalled" at the government's treatment of the civilians who managed to escape and called on the government to "cease the shelling and the offensive military action." The same day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, "I think that the Sri Lankan Government knows the entire world is very disappointed that in its efforts to end what it sees as 25 years of conflict, it is causing such untold suffering"
The administration is so concerned by wartime actions during a war that has nothing to do with the U.S., that it has moved to block IMF loans to Sri Lanka. In effect, the U.S. is siding with the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization, and trying to restrict Sri Lankan military operations. 

Goldberg notes that in the Sri Lankan crisis "few geopolitical interests were at stake" for the U.S. Since he doesn't particularly care about U.S. interests, Goldberg is happy that the Obama administration decided to "stick its neck out" to confront a "humanitarian crisis." And a Human Rights Watch spokesman declares,

"The administration has done virtually everything we would have wanted them to do," Malinowski says. "The response has been clear, crisp, and strong."
When Human Rights Watch thinks the U.S. is doing the right thing, that's a pretty good indication that the U.S. is acting against its interests.

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