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The US government and media are chronically prone to pontificate to the rest of the world about human rights and democracy. The events in Ferguson are being greeted in some of the countries that are frequent targets of such lectures with undisguised enjoyment.

Russia, Iran and Egypt Heckle U.S. About Tactics in Ferguson

After St. Louis county police officers in full battle gear trained sniper rifles on peaceful protesters in the suburb of Ferguson last week, and then proceeded to douse the streets in tear gas and round up journalists, a Russia analyst named Mark Adomanis observed that images of a crackdown on dissent in the United States would make life easier for the man recently put in charge of propaganda for the Kremlin, Dmitry Kiselyov.
As my colleague David Herszenhorn reports, Russia’s state television channels have indeed featured the violence in Ferguson in heavy rotation since then and an anchor in Moscow told Russian viewers on Tuesday that the situation in Ferguson was veering close to civil war. “Cases of racism are still not rare in the nation of exemplary democracy,” the government-controlled channel Rossiya 24 explained.
“While urging other countries to guarantee the freedom of speech and not to suppress antigovernment protests, the United States authorities at home are not too soft with those actively expressing discontent over persistent inequalities, actual discrimination and the situation of ‘second class’ citizens,” Mr. Dolgov added.
Coverage that echoes the broadcasts from Moscow has also appeared on Iran’s state-run Press TV, in reports about the use of force “to suppress protests in Ferguson,” that also make no mention of how demonstrations are dispersed in Iran.
Not to be outdone, a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry, Badr Abdel-Atti, told the official news agency MENA on Tuesday that his country was “closely following” the protests in Ferguson. According to the state-owned Ahram Online, Egypt “called on U.S. authorities to exercise restraint and deal with the protests in accordance with U.S. and international standards.” The statement came just days after the first anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of peaceful protesters by the same military-backed government.
As my colleague Austin Ramzy reported, China’s official Xinhua news agency also published a commentary this week attacking the United States for racism and hypocrisy when it comes to human rights. “The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even if in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home,” Xinhua editorialized. “Obviously,” it concluded, “what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”
America: One nation under God with liberty and justice for all. That theme doesn't seem to be playing too well on a global basis right now.

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Comment Preferences

  •  back to the cold war (8+ / 0-)

    and the screeds of democratic centrist state capitalism

    As my colleague David Herszenhorn reports, Russia’s state television channels have indeed featured the violence in Ferguson in heavy rotation since then and an anchor in Moscow told Russian viewers on Tuesday that the situation in Ferguson was veering close to civil war. “Cases of racism are still not rare in the nation of exemplary democracy,” the government-controlled channel Rossiya 24 explained.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:05:52 AM PDT

    •  I wish. It's worse than that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At least in the Cold War people believed in us, often with good reason.  They have no reason to believe in us now, even though their own leaders are barely better than the Cold War-era lot.  That's dangerous for us as a nation.  It's dangerous for freedom as an ideal.

  •  It should. (14+ / 0-)

    More reasons for justice.  The whole world is watching!

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:06:04 AM PDT

  •  Same as it ever was nt (9+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:11:12 AM PDT

  •  Of course, it's an easy cheap shot for countries (14+ / 0-)

    like Russia, China, Egypt, and Iran which have terrible human rights records but I think they make a valid point: we don't have such a great human rights record both at home and in our actions around the world, either.

    Frankly, I think we richly deserve being called out on our hypocrisy, even by countries with poor human rights records.

    "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

    by commonmass on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:11:40 AM PDT

  •  I gotta point out, it's not " US Human Rights" (3+ / 0-)

    that are taking a beating from this, it's

    US ability to act self-righteous on Human Rights Issues without people laughing out loud.
    Actual, ya know, human rights have been on the decline in the US since the 1970s- and they weren't what I'd call strong, then.
  •  our country's concept of the rule of law is a joke (4+ / 0-)

    Oh its all fine and well for the white collar criminals to steal billions from us and the government.. hey.. that's just business.

    A black kid steals some food and why I guess that gives validation for killing him dead.. why else would they have released that tape unless they felt that to be true.

    Watching the police down there is just jaw-dropping. They almost look like the Iranians did when they put down their recent civil protests.. only the cops weren't actually clubbing everyone they could get their hands on..just tear gas mind you  plus talking a good game of threats... "I'll fuc*king kill you"???? really????

    This has spun waaaay out of control... only DOJ can reign this in and given the way Holder gave a free pass to torturers and Wall Street criminals, I seriously doubt this is going to work out well.

    Now we have a DA down there scheduling the Grand Jury for ONE FREAKING DAY A WEEK ... what's the hurry??

    we deserve all the criticism the world wants to heap on our arrogant government's head.

    This situation calls for true bold aggressive leadership .. something the US used to have and now is sadly lacking up and down the political spectrum.

  •  it's the 'unless white folks get mowed down too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev, Schneewolfe

    it don't matter' mindset. Long as we haven't gotten rid of that, we ain't much of a country -- no matter what we say.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:45:36 AM PDT

  •  Less like a black eye (0+ / 0-)

    and more like a deep-rooted illness.

  •  It is well deserved. The US has never passed up a (3+ / 0-)

    chance to show their moral superiority.
    Wasn't it Potemkin who had fake villages full of happy people for when the Czar rode through?
    That's what the US is today, a Potemkin Village and we are wearing around the edges.

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 12:10:26 PM PDT

  •  our entire HISTORY is characterized by hypocrisy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev, notagain, AoT

    or did we give the Indians back their land when i was in the john or something? and that's just for starters.

    "Stories about bacon should be uplifting" - Oberon

    by bnasley on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 12:14:53 PM PDT

  •  It's not a human rights violation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Schneewolfe

    . . . if it occurs in the U.S. It's a "restoration of law & order".

    Frankly, the police in Ferguson & St. Louis County don't give a rat's ass what the rest of the world thinks about all this. Their authority is absolute. Within their jurisdiction, their power exceeds that of Governor Nixon, Attorney General Holder & President Obama all. These police apparently have no compunction whatsoever about telling any person or organization who criticizes their actions to go to hell.

  •  it's supremely hypocritical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Schneewolfe

    the US self-righteously rants about the maltreatment of minorities by Russia and China, claiming that those countries are barbaric and have no respect for human rights.

    What do you call the ghettos, the war on drugs, gentrification, the SWAT teams, sundown towns, voter caging? Do people really think that what Russia and China do to their minorities is any worse than what happens in our ghettos and our private, for-profit prisons every single day? Do they think that our out-of-control, militarized police who bust down doors, crack skulls, break arms, and summarily execute young black men on a daily basis are any better than the state security forces of those countries?

    And don't get started on how the US treated America's indigenous peoples, who were slaughtered mercilessly, uprooted from their homes and forced to march long distances, and starved to death by wiping out their food source. Not to mention the fact that America was built on slavery.

    Shocking fact to those trapped within the American media information bubble: the per capita incarceration rate in the US is 50 times that of Russia, and 320 times that of China. So who is the police state? By the numbers, it ain't them.

    Frankly, the US is in no position to judge, and if it weren't for our overwhelming military power (and our willingness to use it), no one would listen to us.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:26:33 PM PDT

  •  Could I suggest a better phrased title might (0+ / 0-)

    be that the cops or the pols of Ferguson are giving the US a black eye.

    I get what you mean, and agree, but the general population of Ferguson isn't the issue just the jack asses on top.

  •  This is good exercise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    I think it's easy to react defensively and point out that Russia, Iran, Egypt and even China (LOL) have, um, their share of problems and less than perfect human rights situations {modest cough}.

    And that is the usual reaction, because American [or enter your nationality of choice] exceptionalism dictates one pontificate on the sins and crimes of others while holding one's head high and ignoring or excusing one's own problems ("folks" have them!).

    This time the US got lucky: the nexus of Gaza and Furguson provides the necessary contrast to recognize the human rights issues at stake and the military tactics used against civilians hits an oppressive note difficult to ignore.

    What I found remarkable over the past month, particularly in the segue from Gaza to Ferguson, is that so many Dems/Liberals/whatever that have willfully ignored human rights and Constitutional issues implicit in the US war on terror including the drone strikes, the spying, the militarization of police, etc. -- because this extended to and even (in some cases) accelerated under a popular Democratic President -- have been forced to confront reality and acknowledge things are headed down the wrong path.

    I think it is fortunate that, first, Obama was forced confront, in obvious frustration, the violence of Gaza and the faltering US-Israeli relationship, and he did so rather deftly, all things considered.

    This made it "OK" to think the unthinkable: that standards of human rights should apply to the actions of US allies, not just adversaries.

    Second, we have Furguson where I guess it was suddenly discovered:

    • African Americans are systematically oppressed, even by police
    • Generous gifts from the US Army and Homeland Security have turned US Police departments into paramilitary organizations, but without the discipline and training of a real army
    • First and Fourth Amendment rights actually matter
    • Sometimes, so-called "Libertarians", Greenwaldians, civil liberty lawyers and researchers actually know what they are talking about and make astute observations ahead of news cycles (quoted on the Dkos Front Page!)

    In fact, the change in tone on this site over the past month, and particularly the past week, left me speechless when reading what some people had to say in contradiction to their usual indifference.

    This is all good. I actually deleted a diary I was drafting Tuesday because I thought, "No need, people get this. Don't be a pedantic jerk."

    Of course, none of this is stuff is news. You can't live in reality and not know all of this, because it parades in front of us constantly.

    What changed is the frame around the picture and the lighting.

    So, why is it good if the Russia et al now point the guilty finger at the US?

    Surely, what has happened in Ferguson does not quite tip the scales against the USA verses these countries (one of them my home sweet home). Sorry, you're not even close in the authoritarian fuckhead pageant.

    But it kicks out the pedestal, and that is an opportunity.

    It is an opportunity, to take seriously, the tit-for-tat "Human Rights" reports China has published for several years to counter the annual US "Human Rights" reports, which so far have been ignored or held up to ridicule because ...  Ha Ha Ha ... China:Human Rights? LOL? ... but which are actually accurate and factual if politically biased and motivated just like the US reports when talking about other countries. (Would you be surprised to learn these reports regularly focused on the human rights issues of African Americans? True.)

    It is an opportunity, to take seriously, the facts that the USA has done and continues to do acts that would surely be considered terrorist acts if perpetrated against the US or Americans. Conveniently remote and tidy drone strikes come to mind.

    And, and and.

    Because it's all true. Because, all of these countries including the USA, have these problems and all of them us need to deal with these facts, and there is nothing like "sunshine" or a floodlight street full of tear gas at midnight as the case may be, to bring on the shame, that great motivator.

    We can keep each other honest. Or at least try.

    Don't let a good crisis go to waste. Or a bucket of shame.

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