Originally Posted by rfrobison
In any case, I'd say he's done better this time around. There will always be a tension in U.S. foreign policy between the demands of realpolitik and the genuine (in my view) desire of Americans to defend universal human rights. It's unfortunate that partisan loyalties, as much as principle, seem to determine who favors what, when.
I agree with the general tenor of your remarks, but the defense of "human rights" can only be a goal of foreign policy if it is backed up by actual force( Bush's "freedom agenda") or by forceful persuasion (economic sanctions etc). Governments are bound by international law and diplomatic conventions to deal with other governments, whether they are democratically elected or not. It is the government in power that represents the people, which is otherwise an amorphous collection of individuals, a "mob," however well-intentioned. There is no more reason for an American president to support a democratic uprising in Egypt than for him to support an out-of-power political party in France. Indeed rather less since it remains to be seen whether the new government in Egypt will be any more democratic than previous governments.