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Peace at any Price ?

This is a guest post by MoreMediaNonsense

This article about peace hero Obama’s new diplomacy is worrying in its implications. The Guardian reports that Hilary Clinton is prepared to give up calling out Russia for human rights abuses in return for (perhaps) concessions re sanctions on Iran.

“Today’s apparent climbdown on human rights suggests that Obama has pragmatically retreated from the aggressive democracy promotion of the Bush era. The White House is apparently prepared to compromise on the issue to secure Russia’s support over its more pressing strategic concerns: Iran’s nuclear programme, and the worsening situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Note also that Obama stepped back from confrontation with Russia re the missile shield in Eastern Europe much to the dismay of its formerly staunch allies there.

This kind of “I’ll scratch your back” stuff is all very well if you can be sure that your partner is going to reciprocate but who knows in this case if they will.

Strong arm regimes like Russia are just as likely to take your concessions as weakness and give a big raspberry when asked to return the favour. The supposedly neocon point may seemed old fashioned and outre to the likes of the Nobel judges but surely is just a realistic and sensible view of brutal realities. And if you are to make concessions why do it up front before the other side does anything concrete.

We will see what transpires here but so far it seems to me that giving up on human rights in Russia on the basis of promised returns is practically dangerous as well as morally dubious.