The United States is suddenly very concerned about human rights violations in India, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling the press on Monday that “we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.”
While it is true that India’s right-wing government is guilty of human rights abuses and has been for years, it is also true that the US State Department does not actually care about human rights abuses.
A leaked State Department memo from the early days of the Trump administration showed neoconservative empire manager Brian Hook teaching a previously uninitiated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that for the US government, “human rights” are only a weapon to be used for keeping other nations in line. In a remarkable insight into the cynical nature of imperial narrative management, Hook told Tillerson that it is US policy to overlook human rights abuses committed by nations aligned with US interests while exploiting and weaponizing them against nations who aren’t.
“In the case of US allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines, the Administration is fully justified in emphasizing good relations for a variety of important reasons, including counter-terrorism, and in honestly facing up to the difficult tradeoffs with regard to human rights,” Hook explained in the memo.
“One useful guideline for a realistic and successful foreign policy is that allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries,” Hook wrote. “We do not look to bolster America’s adversaries overseas; we look to pressure, compete with, and outmaneuver them. For this reason, we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to US relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”
No, the US State Department does not care about human rights abuses. Blinken’s remarks are just the latest in a series of shots across the bow that the US empire has been firing at New Delhi to warn it against moving into alignment with Moscow.