Yet the US is in a category by itself even among the rich countries. Covid-19 deaths per million inhabitants have gone through the roof in the US in comparison with its own allies. The appalling reality is that in the US the death toll from the epidemic has crossed 500,000.
Ironically, per capita Covid-19 deaths in some of the countries that Blinken berates for deficit in democracy and human rights put the US to shame, including Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and Sri Lanka. And of course China.
But for Blinken, such a horrific level of deaths among his countrymen isn’t a human-rights issue. Not a single state functionary in the US has been held responsible for such a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.
Suffice to say, the US is bringing disrepute and shame to the whole Western world by leading them into such a cynical game, strutting around as champions of human rights when according to a recent estimate, more than half of all vaccines against Covid-19 have been reserved for one-seventh of the world’s population. Isn’t that a matter of human rights?
The UK alone has reportedly secured enough vaccines to give each of its citizens five doses. If orders are met, the European Union and the US could inoculate their populations three times over, while Canada would have enough to do so nine times. It is obscene, Mr Blinken.
At the same time, competition for diminishing vaccine supplies may lead to price spikes and further friction. Acrimony has erupted among the EU, the UK and AstraZeneca over a shortfall in vaccine production. Meanwhile, in any situation where supplies are scarce and demand rises, it is poorer countries that will suffer most.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was spot on when he said at the UNHRC meeting on February 24, “The pandemic has exacerbated old problems such as racism and xenophobia, as well as discrimination against national and religious minorities. Mass protests in the United States and Europe have exposed these countries’ continuing systemic inequalities, while highlighting the risks of condoning extremist ideologies.”
It is utter moral bankruptcy that the US and its rich allies in the Western world – the so-called “golden billion” on planet Earth – walk into the UNHRC and start pontificating about human rights and pursue coercive approaches and unlawful methods of intimidation and pressure with narrow and self-serving geopolitical goals.
Again, aren’t the non-transparent policies of social networking platforms a matter of human rights, too? The US, in particular, undertook commitments to ensure freedom of access to information for all citizens but is now hiding behind corporate policies to avoid delivering on these commitments.
As for the social networking platforms, they have begun brazenly to manipulate public opinion in the developing countries by banning or censoring user content at their own discretion. Now, they are, under US protection, trampling on the human rights of world citizens, aren’t they? The human-rights toolkit is universally applicable and there is not a single country on Earth, including the US, that doesn’t have a problem with democracy and human rights.
Isn’t it a crying shame that an average black American lives six years less than his white countrymen? Don’t black Americans get locked up in jails in much larger numbers than whites? But the United States’ human-rights standards are highly selective – it’s the “white man’s burden.”
Evidently, the toolkit becomes a potent weapon to stigmatize the United States’ adversaries Russia and China; to pressure small countries that do not conform to US regional policies (such as Sri Lanka, Cuba or Venezuela); or to extract concessions from countries by blackmailing them (such as Saudi Arabia).
The toolkit has been used to bring about regime change too – that is, overthrow established governments and replace them with client regimes. The best-known examples are Ukraine and Georgia. A recent attempt in Belarus flopped.
A trial project in Russia in recent weeks was simply squashed by the Kremlin. But it is a developing story. The countries in the periphery of Russia are being systematically destabilized and turned into theaters of geopolitical contestation so that the United States’ great adversary will get entrapped in a quagmire.