Alternative Ending of: A convenient inconvenience caused by plausible deniability
A few days ago, I wrote an article about why I thought Michele Bachelet would not come to China and visit the Xinjiang region. Today, I’m writing another article about why I think she will do exactly what I predicted she wouldn’t do.
The first article was based on the premise that it’s not in the interests of the “international community”; that small group of countries, led by the USA, which consists of 18% of the global population but 52% of global GDP.
However, Ms. Bachelet is a highly skilled politician and diplomat who has been the President of Chile twice, is not of the “International Community”.
She was once herself a victim of human rights abuses including political imprisonment and torture, her father died as a political prisoner in the Pinochet regime and was himself a victim of torture. She and her mother and were exiled from Chile for 4 years, spending time in both Australia and Germany before being given permission to return where she continued her further studies in medicine.
She entered politics several years later and was appointed Minster of Health. The start of a long and very illustrious political career.
In March 2018, she finished her second term of presidency with a very low approval rating due to a corruption scandal involving her son and daughter in law, there has never been any evidence of her own involvement, or even that she had knowledge of the corruption but it’s well known that a situation such as this would taint the leader of a country — just ask Joe Biden!
On September 1st that year, she was appointed as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A uniquely qualified and, as we’ve already seen, experienced person to take up this role. A person who has fought hard, and mostly successfully, all her life for reforms in women’s issues, education, health and the environment as well as having been the victim of torture and loss to a repressive regime.
An interesting thing happened shortly before Ms. Bachelet took up her appointment. On the 19th of June, as UN Secretary General-Antonio Guterres was negotiating the role with Ms Bachelet, the United States resigned from the Human Rights Council (HRC). The American public were informed that the HRC, which Nikki Hayley, the then Ambassador to the UN described as a “cesspool”, is anti-Israel and displayed: “an appalling disrespect for the most basic rights… citing Venezuela, China, Cuba and Democratic Republic of Congo.” All of which happen to be victims of the US’s own State Department propaganda as human rights violators but all of whom have denied and continue to deny abuses.
What the US public were not informed of was that many of the countries making up the body of the Council (who are not members of the “International Community”) were publicly calling on the United States to be investigated and this, according to the Atlantic, was enough for the Trump administration to not only leave the group but to disparage and discredit it on the way out. The Trump administration in the USA, at the same time, was attacking press freedom, rolling back protections for women, separating children from parents in their border camps, it had and still has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with disproportionately high ethnic minorities in their prisons, and, some media reports were describing, torture with illegal interrogations and imprisonments in Yemen by the USA. All of which seem fair enough allegations to at least merit investigation.
Fast forward now to October 2021 and the United States was re-elected under the Biden Administration to hold a seat on the Council from January 2022 until December 2024. So, now they’re back, there are some things needing to be sorted out.
If the Council is to be respected some of the allegations of abuses by senior members of it need to be addressed. The loudest voice in the room is, once again the USA. One of the other voices in the room is China; the “arch-enemy” of the USA.
We know that Michele Bachelet is not only a fair minded but a very skillful and experienced person. We also know from her record as a President of a country that was not part of the “International Community” that she’s no great friend of the United States. Furthermore, we can assume, having been a victim herself, that she will do all she can for the victims of human rights abuses. But in order to do so, she needs first of all to address the loudest voice in the room. The theory of the squeaky wheel gets the most oil is abundantly clear here. If Ms. Bachelet wants to address the issues of US human rights abuses, she must first of all, discredit the discreditors. Her best way of doing that is to prove them wrong in their biggest lie.
On arrival in China, after the appropriate quarantine period, Ms. Bachelet will enter Xinjiang and meet the people she has asked to meet, she will travel to the places she has asked to travel and she will engage with and discuss with people in the region who have lived through terrorism and a period of stability. She will no doubt meet with people who have experienced imprisonment, re-education, de-radicalisation and retraining. She will meet with people who have endured abject poverty and been lifted from it, she will meet and discuss religion with religious leaders and educators, she will visit communities and meet with their leaders, enter factories and meet the employers and the employees and she will, from all of this, form her own opinion as to whether a genocide, human rights abuses, religious or ethnic persecutions, as the USA alleges, have actually taken place. Or, as China asserts, a genuine anti-terrorism, poverty alleviation and de-radicalisation program has been successfully implemented.
Already questions are being asked by those favourable to the “International Community” as to whether Ms. Bachelet will have “unfettered” access or if Covid will be used as an excuse to keep her out of places. Skilled as she is in diplomacy and governance, Human Rights Watch (HRW) a George Soros funded NGO are already critical of her capabilities.
Secretary of State Blinken has already made disparaging remarks about the visit and the lack of production of a report which has been under preparation for over three years. In other words, he’d like to see the findings of a report on Xinjiang before there has even been a visit there to corroborate them. This would presumably be because the report includes hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of allegations of which any evidence has yet to be found.
The thing I most fear in this scenario is not that she will find the evidence of crimes the United States and the rest of the “International Community” are alleging, I’m personally convinced she won’t.
What I fear is how the US and its supporters have already started to discredit the UN HRC and its leadership, most of whom are not members of their elite “International Community”. They will attempt to discredit Ms. Bachelet and, if successful in doing, so denigrate her findings as being unworthy of international acceptance.
Headlines alleging her corruption haven’t started yet, insinuations of her relationship with China’s leaders haven’t started yet, exposure of alleged human rights abuses during her Chilean leadership periods haven’t started but, later this month, as she enters quarantine in China, we can expect some interesting op-eds and magazine articles.
I believe we are now entering an era where the United Nations Human Rights Council has had enough of the false and spurious allegations laid out by the “International Community” and Ms. Bachelet’s trip to China is the first volley in what could become a protracted internal war within the UN.
I wonder which of these two predictions will come closest to the truth?
Watch this space…