Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy

Author James Peck discusses how the U.S. government co-opted human rights.

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Is that what we're seeing in the Middle East unrest now?

Interestingly, those movements are putting things like wealth and power back on the agenda. Freedom of speech is fine, but you also have to put food on the table, Brazilian President Lula da Silva said recently. The issues of economic order are back. The awareness that people have now is enormously different and what people are willing to live with and tolerate has changed. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Middle East unrest.]

What does human rights look like in 10 years?

We are going to look back at our conception of human rights now and see it as limited. In the future, human rights will deal with jobs, equality, those sorts of things. That people have the ability to control more aspects of their life.

  • See a slide show of 15 major post-Cold War uprisings.
  • Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Middle East unrest.
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