The Alliance of Civilizations has never received such high level support from the United States as it is presently enjoying from the Obama administration. Even though the Bush administration’s Secretary of State Condolezza Rice expressed enthusiasm for the Alliance, the level of support appeared somewhat measured.
While speaking at the Roosevelt Institute, Hillary Clinton delivered tough words to the Alliance regarding restrictions on free speech and religion. Clinton said:
- “Now, some claim that the United Nations can best protect the freedom of religion by adopting what is called an “anti-defamation” policy that would restrict the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion. I, obviously, strongly disagree. An individual’s ability to practice their religion should have no bearing on others individuals’ freedom of speech. The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faiths will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions. And these differences should be met with tolerance, not suppression of discourse. And the United States will stand against the idea of defamation of religion in the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.”
“President Obama and I are committed to defending the Freedom of Expression on the new terrain of the 21st century…Similarly, we wish to stand firmly on the side of the freedom of religion.”
Normally Clinton’s words are ones I would have applauded, but I cannot in light of President Obama’s subsequentco-authorship of a resolution before the Human Rights Council. This resolution contains similar language as that used in the anti-defamation resolutions which are intended to curtail free speech. The strategy all along has been to convince people that they are operating within the framework of Human Rights. As such, a person’s words that might offend or insult another might be construed as a violation of another’s Human Rights. The Responsibility to Protect initiative indicates clear guidelines are to be posed in public places so civil society understands the expectations placed upon them.
Clinton’s speech appears disingenuous. Being aware of the Alliance’s major problem areas, why welcome the initiative at all? It’s like inviting a group of thugs to a formal dinner and as they are being seated they are given one caveat: their salad forks have been removed. Even though they have one less instrument there is no complaint as they proceed and reach for their dinner fork.
Hillary Clinton surely must be aware that Britain is an Alliance of Civilizations implementation partner. In the interest of protecting free speech she has received a high profile appeal from radio talk show host Dr. Michael Savage who has requested her assistance to get his name removed from the “Banned from Britain” list for voicing dissenting, “extremist” political views. To my knowledge Clinton has done nothing to intercede on behalf of Michael Savage and, by extension, free speech.
When the Michael Savage story broke Constance Cumbey and I warned today Michael Savage—tomorrow any one of us. Tomorrow has arrived. Today we see that Christian televangelist Benny Hinn has been banned from Britain for having “extremist” views. Britain appears to be implementing the Alliance of Civilizations “shared security” doctrine and is starting by isolating foreign “extremists”. The next step is to look internally. Some British government officials are already calling for population reduction to one-half of its present level. The British people had to combat Nazi ideology during the second world war--today those adopting this same ideology are setting Britain’s policy.
The Alliance of Civilizations has been a master of double speech. They support national sovereignty—redefined; freedom of speech—with restrictions; freedom of religion—with guidelines. It appears that British and U.S. heads of state have mastered the same. Clinton’s tough words appear to be an attempt to publicly placate the Alliance’s critics.