Founding Director of the Global Energy Center Richard L. Morningstar cowrites for the Huffington Post on how dilemmas in foreign policy create double standards:
The United States and many of its European allies are often accused of having double standards in the execution of their foreign policy. This criticism is for a reason, and we need to face it as the sometimes inconvenient truth. While we proudly proclaim our value-based foreign policy, many times “pragmatism” sets in, and then human rights, the violation of standards of democracy, corruption and graft, the rejection of which is in our DNA, take a backseat. As a consequence we constantly struggle with ourselves when it comes to double standards. But then our foreign policy is like democracy, a work in progress, and we are better off admitting its realities.
At times we are faced with a terrible dilemma: having to choose between our values, upholding our principles of democracy, human rights, protection of minorities, and the rule of law and our short or long-term security and economic interests. Most of the time we are not honest about this often inherent conflict, about the fact that there are times when support for our values can bring about unacceptable practical consequences. Because we are not candid about this inner conflict, our foreign policy can appear wishy-washy. We must recognize that this dilemma creates inevitable double standards.