Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Back in 1979, while negotiating a nuclear arms treaty with the Soviets, Biden allegedly told the Soviets his talk of human rights was just a show to satisfy voters back home.
Joe Biden’s Rights Talk
He tells Chinese leaders the same thing he told the Soviets.
April 13, 2015 12:51 pm ET
It turns out Mr. Biden has a long record of playing down human rights in private diplomatic meetings while mouthing support in public. His message to China’s Mr. Xi—that U.S. human-rights talk is meant to satisfy a “political imperative” from voters at home—is almost identical to what he told Soviet leaders as a Senator visiting Moscow in 1979.
“The delegation did not officially raise the issue of human rights during the negotiations. Biden said they did not want ‘to spoil the atmosphere with problems which are bound to cause distrust in our relations.’” So recorded Vadim Zagladin, deputy head of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee’s International Department, in an internal memo after meeting U.S. Senators in Moscow in April 1979. The memo, archived after the Cold War at the Gorbachev Foundation, was translated in 2008 by former Soviet political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky and author Pavel Stroilov.
The memo continued: “During the breaks between the sessions the Senators passed to us several letters concerning these or those ‘refuseniks,’” Jewish activists who were refused the right to emigrate from the Soviet Union. “Unofficially, Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for ‘human rights.’ They must prove to their voters that they are ‘effective in fulfilling their wishes.’”
…Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/joe-bidens-rights-talk-1428943902
The Soviet communists of course treated the arms treaty and peace accords Biden helped negotiate like a piece of toilet paper. In December 1979 Brezhnev ordered the Soviet 40th Army to cross the border and occupy the Afghan capital Kabul, the opening move of the Soviet Afghan war.
I admit it is possible the Wall Street Journal got their facts wrong. I have not seen the original documents allegedly sourced from archives recovered after the fall of the Soviet Union. Or maybe Biden has learned his lesson, 1979 was a long time ago.
But given all the Biden and Kerry rhetoric about climate change being an existential crisis, and Biden’s claimed track record of expediency on human rights during Soviet times, his alleged willingness to sell out Soviet dissidents and his alleged willingness to mislead the American public, I don’t think China interning entire ethnic groups into alleged rape camps is likely to stand in the path of Biden’s efforts to negotiate a comprehensive Sino-US climate deal.