Dear President Biden, Human Rights Are Non-Negotiable

October 3, 2022

In Iran last month, mothers, daughters, and sisters flooded the streets to protest the death of a 22-year-old woman who died in custody after violating the country's strict Islamic dress code. The Iranian police responded to these calls for justice with an overwhelming demonstration of force. How did the leader of the free world react? President Biden delivered a speech at the United Nations in support of the protestors, but ultimately the administration made a "calculation" to prioritize their desire for another doomed nuclear deal.


This "calculation" is just one more instance in the Biden White House's repeating pattern of putting politics ahead of defending human rights. Remember, Biden served as Vice President when Vladimir Putin waged a war in Crimea and used detention, torture, kidnapping, and later forced conscription to control the region. When Biden was sworn in as President, he knew Moscow's track record and still made a conscious decision to relinquish America's upper hand by declaring war on American energy. On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline; as a result, reliance on energy imports from Russia increased and Putin gained more influence over our nation and our allies. 


Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden and his team of advisors knew Putin would view Ukraine's growing partnership with the west as a threat to his nationalist agenda. In retaliation, Moscow followed its own pattern of disregarding human rights, committing war crimes and implementing familiar forced conscription tactics to support their aggression towards Ukraine. Rather than trying to regain America's position of strategic dominance through energy independence, Biden empowered Moscow by continuing his "green" crusade.


Russia and Iran aren't the only adversaries that Biden is enabling. In Communist China, the government has all but obliterated human rights norms through "national security" laws in Hong Kong, forced labor camps in Xinjiang, invasive surveillance in Tibet, anti-free speech policing in Inner Mongolia, and military aggression against Taiwan. Despite Beijing's rampant abuse, the White House continues to take policy advice from "green" special interest groups with ties to the Chinese Communist Party who want to further push supply chains overseas. Under their influence, the White House has walked back any attempt to defend freedom in the region for the sake of preserving the left's environmental agenda. 


The Biden administration's willingness to overlook the New Axis of Evil's abuse is appalling. While some may see this as part of the global status quo, it is a drastic shift from President Trump's leadership. As President, Trump canceled the Iran Nuclear Deal, established energy independence, and bolstered American industry to challenge China. In contrast, President Biden is conceding our stance on freedom to make deals with dangerous dictators. 


In spite of what the administration's diplomatic "calculations" tell us about their approach to managing our adversaries, human rights are not up for debate. Americans expect the freest nation in the world to remain a defender of human rights at home and abroad. The White House needs to act on these expectations. Failing to meet them jeopardizes not only America's leadership but also the fundamental rights of people everywhere.