Seth Binder, the director of advocacy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, called the newly released language on human rights a significant improvement to both the Trump and Obama administrations’ policies. “But ultimately, all of this is only as good as the implementation,” Binder said.
“U.S. law recognizes that security assistance, including arms sales, may be beneficial in advancing U.S. national security interests. . . . But it also directs the government to provide assistance so that it ‘will promote and advance human rights and avoid identification of the United States… with governments which deny to their people internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.’”
“Strategic considerations about countering China are at play in inviting very troubled, backsliding democracies…that are in China’s neighborhood [to the Summit for Democracy]. The same might be true for inviting deeply flawed democracy Iraq.”
“Nowhere in this region is the U.S. government putting human rights at the center of its relations with any of these countries. And if that were ever to happen, we would see a completely different policy.”
“[The Trump administration is] not the right yardstick. [Biden’s willingness to engage on human rights issues is] what it means to center this issue in your foreign policy. I don’t see any evidence of that.”
“The sale of the F-35, in particular, has the potential to lead to a significant escalation of an arms race in the region, not even just with Iran trying to match capabilities, but with other US partners wanting the same advanced equipment.”