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Sun May 19, 2019, 09:58 PM

They come to Washington in search of help fighting repression. They find a vacuum.

Source: Washington Post

They come to Washington in search of help fighting repression. They find a vacuum.

By Fred Hiatt
Editorial page editor
May 19 at 7:00 PM

Against all odds, against evidence and logic, they keep coming to Washington: dissidents, human rights crusaders, relatives of the persecuted from around the world. They hope for just one moment of moral clarity from America’s leaders.

Last week alone, petitioners included the grieving fiancee of a Saudi journalist, slaughtered last year by a hit squad dispatched by that nation’s crown prince; the forlorn daughter of a Uighur scholar who has not seen her father since he was torn from her in the Beijing airport six years ago; and a delegation from Hong Kong warning that their city-state is making a last stand as a free society while the United States stands by silently.


Will Hong Kong get such help? Some members of Congress speak up, and Ilham says she appreciates the officials who have raised her father’s case. In a speech at the Claremont Institute on May 11 , Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump doctrine includes defense of human rights. In some places — Iran, Venezuela, Cuba — the administration does criticize abuses.

But President Trump undermines and negates all that. He embraces Khashoggi’s killers in Riyadh. He praises the Uighurs’ jailer, Xi Jinping, as his “friend.” He enthuses over autocrats from Hungary to Russia to the Philippines.

Yet the petitioners keep coming, looking for some balance against the rising tide of authoritarian repression. Maybe they come because there is nowhere else to go. Or maybe they keep coming because, deep down, they understand America better than does its own president.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/they-come-to-washington-in-search-of-help-fighting-repression-they-find-a-vacuum/2019/05/19/d6d7cb82-78db-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661_story.html

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