Senator and former POW John McCain penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled “Why We Must Support Human Rights.”
On Monday morning, Senator John McCain published an opinion piece in the New York Times that came in direct response to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks delivered last week to employees at the State Department. Tillerson said, “In some circumstances if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can’t achieve our national security goals.”
In his op-ed McCain says that Tillerson is adopting a foreign policy that abandons victims of oppression world wide as well as U.S. values.
The Arizona senator and chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee wrote:
‘With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope. Our values make us sympathetic to your plight, and when it’s convenient, we might officially express that sympathy. But we make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. So, if you happen to be in the way of our forging relationships with your oppressors that could serve our security and economic interests, good luck to you. You’re on your own.’
McCain spoke of his experience as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, saying that one of the constant taunts his captors would give is that the United States government had already forgotten them. The Arizona senator recalled that prisoners were always relieved to hear from new prisoners that the government had not forgotten them and had no plans to abandon them. He emphasized that he and his fellow prisoners might not have been able to resist giving up honor if it weren’t for the assurances that the U.S. government was still supporting and fighting for them.
Senator McCain said that it he anticipates some will see Tillerson’s statement “as a straightforward if not graceless elucidation of a foreign policy based on realism,” but warned that such a sentiment is false. According to McCain, and really any other decent human beings, the truth is that human rights have to remain a top priority because the United States is “a county with a conscience” and because it is wrong to ignore oppression of those in other parts of the world and will only “invite their enduring resentment.”
McCain says in his NYT op-ed piece that:
‘It is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible or to consider our power and wealth as encumbered by the demands of justice, morality and conscience. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three.’
John McCain isn’t alone in worrying, but his is an unexpected Republican voice of reason amid the insane proposals made my Trump cabinet member and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Featured Image via Getty Images