Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells The Atlantic that China’s “deplorable human rights record” is “a fool’s errand” to “stop history.” That’s some tough talk from the global representative of a country that throws its enemies in an island gulag when it isn’t remotely executing them.

Clinton’s remarks were part of a larger point about why the United States appears to be inconsistent when dealing with countries such as Libya and Saudi Arabia.

“We live in the real world, and there are lots of countries that we deal with because we have interests in common, we have certain security issues that we are both looking at,” she said. “Obviously, in the Middle East, Iran is an overwhelming challenge to all of us. We do business with a lot of countries whose economic systems or political systems are not ones we would design or choose to live under. We encourage consistently, both publicly and privately, reform and the protection of human rights. But we don’t walk away from dealing with China because we think they have a deplorable human-rights record. We don’t walk away from Saudi Arabia.”

We can get behind the idea of letting a country make its own history, but there’s something awfully hypocritical about calling out China when, as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, our nation is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

Perhaps it’s because we live in “the real world” that the United States no longer believes in due process, eavesdrops on its citizens, fires rockets into wedding parties and imprisons more of its population than any other country.

China has serious problems where human rights are concerned, but we probably shouldn’t throw stones — at least until we shut down Guantanamo. — PZS

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