The work of the human rights monitors chronicled here constitutes a valuable international public service; many of the abuses, particularly in lesser-known countries, would go completely undocumented but for the work of the organizations contributing to the report. This year's report on human rights around the world makes for depressing reading, with a massive genocide in Rwanda, ongoing "ethnic cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia, religious terrorism in Algeria, communal violence in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia, and the like. The authors of the report harshly criticize the Clinton administration for practicing what they label "mercantilist" diplomacy by granting most-favored-nation status to China, the United Nations for a misguided neutrality in Yugoslavia and elsewhere, and the world community as a whole for its failure to stop the ethnic killings in Rwanda. In their criticisms of the policies of the United States and other governments, however, the authors sometimes argue as if there were no legitimate foreign policy interests other than defense of human rights and tend to underestimate the risks, costs, and dangers of intervention to prevent human rights abuses.
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