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.
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.