Human rights has been a central rhetorical foreign policy concern of successive U.S. presidents since the Carter administration. For all that, the international community remains deeply ambivalent about the American government’s self-appointed role as the world’s largest human rights organization. Many see self-interest behind U.S. claims to be upholding high moral principles, and they also see hypocrisy in the U.S. government’s reluctance to be bound by the same instruments it is so ready to apply to others.
The people of Yugoslavia did what NATO bombs could not. As in 1989, it was not the military prowess of the western alliance bringing freedom to an Eastern European country, but the power of nonviolent action by the subjugated peoples themselves.
President Bill Clinton’s visit to NATO allies Greece and Turkey is raising new questions about the ongoing strategic relationship the United States has with these two historic rivals, particularly in the light of the anti-American demonstrations which delayed and shortened the planned presidential visit.
Organizations in East Asia and the United States as well as international networks are developing alternatives to militarized security that address the security of women, children, and the physical environment.