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Trump’s Hesitant Embrace of Human Rights
A mix of ethnic Uyghur and Han shopkeepers hold large wooden sticks as they are trained in security measures on June 27, 2017 next to the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
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Trump’s Hesitant Embrace of Human Rights

Walter Russell Mead

The big news from Washington is that Woodrow Wilson is back. From Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Vice President Mike Pence and even, if somewhat hesitantly, President Trump, senior American officials are putting human-rights concerns front and center in American foreign policy.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has condemned Chinese repression of Muslims in Xinjiang, hosted a conference of 106 countries to discuss religious freedom around the world, and announced the formation of the International Religious Freedom Alliance. Mr. Pompeo called China’s mass repression of the largely Muslim Uighur people “the stain of the century.” On Wednesday Mr. Trump met at the White House with 27 people from around the world who have faced persecution for their religious beliefs.

At first glance, the embrace of human rights by the Trump White House seems odd. Mr. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the idea that promoting human rights overseas should be a major theme of American foreign policy. Outreach to leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Mohammed bin Salman is predicated on the president’s willingness to overlook their dismal records on human rights. And that an administration whose domestic supporters attack an opponent by chanting “Send her back!” should head a global drive for human rights strikes even many Republicans as improbable.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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