But the point is, this started in civil society. That’s what prompted action by President Clinton and by myself. And promoting civil society that can surface issues and push leadership is not just in keeping with our values — it’s not charity. It’s in our national interest.
Countries that respect human rights, including freedom of association happen to be our closest partners. That is not an accident.
Conversely, when these rights are suppressed, it fuels grievances and a sense of injustice that over time can fuel instability or extremism.
So, I believe America’s support for civil society is a matter national security. It is precisely because citizens and civil society can be so powerful, their ability to harness technology and connect and mobilize at this moment [is] so unprecedented, that more and more governments are doing everything in their power to silence them.
From Russia to China to Venezuela, you are seeing relentless crackdowns vilifying legitimate dissent as subversive. In places like Azerbaijan laws make it incredibly difficult for NGOs even to operate. From Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society. And around the world, brave men and women who dare raise their voices are harassed and attacked and even killed.
After all that Tea Party groups have been through because they were targeted by Obama’s IRS, Obama has the audacity to call out other countries for trying to crackdown on legitimate dissent. Talk about narcissism.
Not only that, but he decries ‘endless regulations’ as though his hands were clean. Hello Obamacare? Hello EPA? Geez.
And lastly, I think Obama believes every country in the world has a civil society. But that’s simply not true and it’s the reason why a Jeffersonian democracy won’t work in Iraq or Egypt or in many places in the world. If a society can’t be virtuous, it can’t be civil.
If this isn’t the pot calling the kettle ‘racist’ then I don’t know what is.