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Pompeo Rolls Out A Selective Vision Of Human Rights

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said property rights and religious liberty are “foremost” among human rights, and that the United States must take inspiration from the Declaration of Independence as it pursues a foreign policy that realistically promotes fundamental freedoms.

Pompeo spoke in Philadelphia as he unveiled the draft report from a controversial panel he set up a year ago called the Commission on Unalienable Rights. Activists and scholars, many of whom have been critical of the commission’s very existence, were scrambling to digest the contents of the draft report, whose final version Pompeo hopes will influence U.S. and global human rights policy.

In a wide-ranging speech sure to give critics and supporters plenty of ammunition, Pompeo stressed the fundamental goodness of the U.S and its ability to overcome its flaws. He also trashed the New York Times, suggesting it promulgates “hatred of America,” and questioned the motives of people who have been tearing down statues of controversial U.S. historical figures.

“America is fundamentally good, and has much to offer the world, because our founders recognized the existence of God-given unalienable rights, and designed a durable system to protect them,” Pompeo said.

The speech as well as the commission’s draft report were in many ways typical of other Pompeo public pronouncements: They were filled with references to U.S. adversaries, such as Iran and China, and refer often to Christian thoughts and inspirations. The Thursday speech and draft report also invoke famous historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Read More: Politico