Dozens of “progressive” organizations recently sent a letter to the White House and Congress urging them not to antagonize China but instead pursue multilateral efforts to address the challenge of global climate change. This approach is naïve and a threat to global security. Conservatives should chart a different course that pursues the noble cause of freedom while holding China accountable for its contributions to global climate change.
While it’s true that partisanship should end at the water’s edge, human rights must not. America is founded upon the idea that human rights are not bound to geography, ethnicity, national borders, or moments in time. Our idea of freedom is still revolutionary 250 years after our founding because we unapologetically declare that human rights exist for all people, in all places, at all times.
“Progressives” who are arguing that human rights don’t extend to persecuted minorities in China are on the wrong side of history and justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
We believe that climate change is real. It is a global challenge that demands global solutions. Combating climate change does not, however, require the United States and the rest of the world to remain silent about human rights abuses, repressive policies, and the military ambitions of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, China.