Concerns about human rights are often pushed aside by governments because they aren’t in a country self interest. These words have been used out by the regimes in China, Russia, and The United States. The self interest defense has been used to condone policies from summary executions to extra-ordinary renditions. Relying on vague notions such as self interest to bypass or outright disregard human rights is the wrong approach to take. Human rights should be the most important consideration to a regime who seeks to govern a people. If a president or prime minister engages in practices that brutalize and dehumanize his subjects as occurs in many countries throughout the world, he loses the mandate to govern as a free ruler, becoming a dictator in the mold of Stalin and Hitler, if on a less globalized scale.
Modern leaders have camouflaged such human rights abuses underneath the cover of fighting terrorism or threats to the state, in the case of communist and autocratic countries. What some of these leaders neglect in their steadfast zeal to kill or capture the terrorists is that heavy handed tactics that they rely on for their intelligence and to pacify resistant populations can have the opposite effect, radicalizing the population they really need to be seeking the trust and respect of. This has the further effect of creating generational wars like the Russian struggles within Chechnya, the Arab-Israeli conflict throughout the Middle East and potentially the India-Pakistan conflict over the disputed territory of Kashmir. When governments forget to treat people with basic human dignity, they create generational wars and make the people they claim to rule less secure. Heavy handed brutality doesn’t win wars, a hand of human decency can alter realities.