U.S. no longer champion of human rights?
Jimmy Carter
June 26th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

U.S. no longer champion of human rights?

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, former President Jimmy Carter makes the case that the United States is "abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights."

He points to some of the government’s counterterrorism policies including, interrogation tactics at Guantánamo Bay and the "president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or 'associated forces.'”

Carter also points to the use of drones and its negative impact on American foreign policy:

Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.

These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas, affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behavior.

Carter to CNN: No military action in Syria

While Carter makes no direct reference to President Obama, he does condemn his policies as violating international human rights which, in turn, "abets our enemies and alienates our friends."

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center, which questioned more than 26,000 people in 21 countries, found that Obama's policies are hurting his global image.

In particular, drones: In 17 of the 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the respondents disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremists in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. That contrasts sharply with the opinion of 62% of Americans, who approve of the drone campaign.

What do you think? How is the U.S. viewed around the world and is the use of drones helping or hurting?

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Topics: Foreign Policy • President Obama

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soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. .

    Jimmy Carter? Seriously?

    We are in the Jimmy Carter phase of the next Ronald Reagan Revolution.

    And it can't come a moment too soon.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  2. Gerry

    Since when is the U.S. champion of human rights??? 48 million people without healthcare, Shooting innocent people as collateral damage in ALL the wars that the US has fought, one of the few countries where having slaves was a way of life...etc etc...

    June 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  3. Andrey

    That depends on what you think the champion of human rights should do. If it makes a fuss when it can benefit from it, annoys, teaches everybody what to do and what not to do, supports some crooks because they have profitable business together, maintains double standards and talks like hypocrite, comes to you home without invitation and makes a mess of it – I say US is still a champion, no doubt about that!

    June 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  4. izlumuk11

    islam is a crime against humanity. Carter and Obama are "Dumb" and "Dumber."

    June 28, 2012 at 6:53 am | Reply
  5. Remya

    I was eating a snack and waithcng this when defied his lack of core and upper body strength came on I definitely laughed and totally spit out my food (sorry Sean's laptop).

    December 29, 2012 at 2:28 am | Reply
  6. Eddie Fonseca

    When Michael Jackson the famous pop singer who had many great songs from Pretty Young Thing and Bille Jean, which can be heard across radio stations in America and across the world. Michael Jackson had this child like innocent approach towards human rights, when people were starving in America and in Africa he listened to them just like President Barrack Obama listens to the people who raise concerns on social welfare and job creation in our great nation. To say our great nation is no longer a champion of human rights is unfair to say that, yes we are nation that cares about human right's from the Middle East to Africa because whatever happens in those places will eventual hit our shores in due course time. Like most Americans like myself who watch destruction across the world in our living room's on television while eating some popcorn, it burns me inside to think we don't give a damn about other nations when we provide lot's or resources from funding towards clean drinking water programs to food programs to third world nations. As Americans when order that cup of Starbucks coffee or stand in line for that cheeseburger at MacDonalds, we all as Americans should take a few minutes to think about a starving child in the Bronx NY, or in Tel Avi Israel who pray for better times in terms of freedom from poverty and better way of life for years to come.

    July 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Reply
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