This isn’t a neoconservative talking point, but, in our case writing as one conservative and one liberal, a shared concern from the left and the right. The United States, under President Trump, is abdicating an important moral obligation to all democracies by seeming to shrug off the most egregious of human rights violations from both our allies and our enemies.
It’s also signaling to the rest of the world that the United States will no longer lead when it comes to denouncing human rights violations, or holding the violators accountable, so long as the political or economic calculus favors silence or inaction. But being a shining beacon of democracy for the rest of the world should not only be the privilege but the obligation of our lifetimes.
When America pays lip service but little more to horrors like the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, instead proclaiming convenient but arbitrary loopholes in our moral obligations, we just give the world’s worst bullies more ammunition and power.
There are no loopholes when it comes to basic human rights.
Every American, no matter his or her politics or point of view, knows our unique existential gift — we are our aspirations. So, with the world watching, the question is, to what do we aspire?