Chen Guangcheng photo at State Department site
We all cheer Hillary’s statement this morning on the release of Chen Guangcheng:
I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values.
It is a statement that in this case the U.S. chose its “values” over its “interests”–that the U.S. took on a putative ally, China.
It reminds us that we have never chosen values over purported interests in Palestine by bucking Israel. It reminds us what former State Dept officials Anne-Marie Slaughter said earlier this spring:
Whenever I send out a [twitter] message about the suffering, the detention without trial, civilian deaths by armed force in all these countries, I now get messages back that say to me, What about the Palestinians?
It reminds us that there are scores of Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike now without a peep from our embassy, and that Anne-Marie Slaughter can only be eloquent about the rights of a Palestinian prisoner after she leaves the State Department.
It reminds us that Israel has slammed the door on an investigation of the massacre of 21 members of the al-Samouni family in Gaza, and the U.S. helped to slam the door by quashing the U.N.’s Goldstone Report, which described the attack on that family as a war crime. It reminds us that as the onslaught on Gaza proceeded over the three weeks before he was inaugurated, President-elect Obama said NOTHING against it.
It reminds us what Mustapha Barghouti said about freedom at the J Street conference in Washington:
The Arab revolutions are making an important impact. There is now no way that one can have peace without democracy.
Those are universalist values: You cannot have peace without freedom.