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Human Rights Essay

Human rights are defined as all right to which all humans are entitled. Examples of human rights include freedom of expression, freedom against torture, indefinite detainment and unreasonable search and seizure. Jimmy Carter expresses a concern for human rights when he says in his inaugural address: “We will be ever vigilant and never vulnerable, and we will fight our wars against poverty, ignorance, and injustice – for those are the enemies against which our forces can be honorably marshaled… Our moral sense dictates a clear-cut preference for these societies which share with us an abiding respect for individual human rights.

As one of the few ‘doves’ of the American presidency, Carter emphasizes a need to combat poverty, ignorance, and injustice. These are the biggest violators of human rights, and for Carter to mention these concepts in the midst of the Cold War and the Vietnam War demonstrates the importance of these concepts to him. Even at this time, he called for “the elimination of all nuclear weapons from this earth”, a goal as highly idealistic today as it was almost forty years ago. Balance of Power Balance of power refers to the idea of maintaining stability between two nations or among several nations.

John F. Kennedy in 1961 was worried about the balance of power when he said, “Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms – and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. Kennedy understood that the United States and the Soviet Union were at odds in developing superior technologies.

He exhibits a desire to use scientific developments resulting from the arms race between the two nations for cooperative activities instead of ill-intentioned activities. Kennedy led the United States in bipolar world, so diplomacy to get the two biggest powers to work together instead of to fight each other was key. Unilateralism Unilateralism is a philosophy that supports one-sided action as opposed to cooperative action. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama addressed this concept, but in different ways. Bush implicitly supported the idea, when he said in his first inaugural address, “Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry, but do not own. ”

Obama, however, rejected unilateralism when he said, “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Though Bush was sworn in before the events of 9/11, he already demonstrated in this address that part of his policies were to have the United States spread democracy and freedom around the world. Bush thought that this role of ‘freedom martyr of the world’ is America’s role and America’s role alone. Obama debunked this idea, illustrating that in history, countries worked together to fend off harsh governments and to spread democracy and freedom. Obama, whether he truly believes this or not, had to separate himself politically from Bush policies because Bush policies were highly unpopular.


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