Blinken to diplomats: It’s OK to admit U.S. flaws when promoting rights

Blinken’s instructions are contained in a lengthy cable sent Friday to U.S. embassies around the world. The document, obtained by POLITICO, is a Blinken attempt to turn into specific objectives the pro- human rights and democracy rhetoric from himself and President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign and since taking office.

The cable is strikingly frank in acknowledging America’s internal challenges, a risky political move given current conservative anger over educational and other attempts to highlight U.S. failures on sensitive issues such as race. And while Blinken includes some cautious caveats about how to deal with abusive allies, the message overall is a break from the strategy of former President Donald Trump’s administration, which largely avoided criticizing the rights records of governments, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose cooperation the U.S. needed on various fronts.

“Standing up for democracy and human rights everywhere is not in tension with America’s national interests nor with our national security,” Blinken insists in his message. “It is squarely in America’s national interests and strengthens our national security when democracy and human rights are protected and reinforced worldwide.”