U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield addresses the United Nations Security Council regarding the situation in Afghanistan at the United Nations in New York City, August 16, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters) U.N. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield diminishes America’s moral authority. That’s good news for China.
President Biden has pledged to compete vigorously against authoritarian regimes with ambitions to reshape the international order. But a string of self-flagellating comments by Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on race in America only does favors for rivals such as Beijing and Moscow.
On Wednesday, Thomas-Greenfield discussed the subject while outlining the U.S. campaign to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council at a candidates’ forum for countries seeking a seat in this October’s election.
“Systemic racism, regular targeting of the LGBTQIA+ community, and persistent discrimination against religious minorities, people with disabilities, indigenous people, and women and girls continues in every country around the world,” she said. “Including mine.”
“The United States is committed to meeting our human-rights obligations and ending discrimination in all its forms. We don’t profess to be a perfect union. But our goal is to get more perfect, more just, each and every day,” she added.
This focus on systemic racism dovetails with the Biden administration’s domestic political initiatives on race. After Thomas-Greenfield spoke, another ambassador, Erica Barks-Ruggles, elaborated on her comments. “We have taken commitments in this administration to look at deeply our own racism issues here in the United States,” she said, citing the Justice Department’s work to prosecute police officers “who have exhibited a pattern of abuse” and an executive order examining systemic racism in the United States. Now that domestic agenda is bleeding over into foreign policy in a harmful way.
The problem with placing this message at the center of the U.S. bid for the Human Rights Council is simple: The Biden administration is providing ammunition to authoritarian rivals who have weaponized the U.N.’s human-rights mechanisms. Those countries, which include China and Russia, have used their access to the U.N., including through their membership on the U.N. Human Rights
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