When the State Department released its annual human rights report last week, it contained many of the usual tough American judgments of other countries. Iran was criticized for restricting freedom of religion and the media; Russia for discriminating against minorities; Eritrea for using torture; Bulgaria for violence against migrants and asylum seekers. The list went on.
What was notably missing this year, however, was the usual fanfare around the report and a news conference promoting it by the new secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, as Democratic and Republican administrations have almost always done.
The State Department dismissed criticism of Mr. Tillerson’s absence, which came even from some Republicans. But for observers of American foreign policy, it was hard not to interpret the low-key rollout as another step by the Trump administration away from America’s traditional role as a moral authority on the world stage that tries to shape and promote democratic norms, both for their intrinsic value and to create a more secure world.
Read the full article at The New York Times.