Tillerson Points to Shift in U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities by Felicia Schwartz, Wall Street Journal
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will pursue national security and economic interests before turning to human rights concerns in its relationships with other countries, signalling a shift in Washington’s global outlook.
Mr. Tillerson’s remarks, to U.S. diplomats and employees at the State Department on Wednesday, amounted to the clearest expression yet of President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy doctrine, in which the U.S. won’t condition its approach to other countries based on “how they treat people,” he said.
“We really have to understand, in each country or each region of the world that we’re dealing with, what are our national security interests, what are our economic prosperity interests, and then, as we can advocate and advance our values, we should,” he said.
In separating U.S. policies from values such as human rights, democracy, press freedom and the treatment of minorities, Mr. Tillerson appeared to outline a departure from priorities pursued during both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Since taking office, Mr. Trump has sought to strengthen ties with leaders who have drawn criticism for their human rights records. He hosted Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi last month at the White House for his first state visit since he took power in 2014 and has invited the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte to Washington.
Human rights groups and some lawmakers have raised concerns about what they’ve described as a U.S. turn away from an emphasis on human rights and basic freedoms…