Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A French Take on "Human Rights"

Thomas Riggins

French Foreign Minister Celebrates 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Junking Human Rights (when necessary).

According to the international press Bernard Kouchner the French foreign minister, and former human rights activist before joining the current right-wing French government, has decided that Human Rights has to play second fiddle when it comes to national interests.

"You cannot govern a country's foreign affairs only according to human rights," he says.

It is at least refreshing to see the French admit that the violation of people's human rights is sometimes necessary in the pursuit of France's foreign policy goals. At least its not as hypocritical as some other countries which boast that their actions are always motivated by the welfare of others, even when bombing and invading them.

Kouchner stated, "there is a permanent contradiction between human rights and a nation's foreign policy."

A "permanent contradiction!" Well, in a capitalist world order, yes. There is also a permanent contradiction between human rights and the government's own citizens and domestic policy. It's always "Profits Before People" under capitalism. But that doesn't mean some other system isn't possible, a system where human rights and policy won't clash.