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Washburn Law Journal

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In response to Professor Harold Hongju Koh's March 2017 keynote at Washburn University, "The Trump Administration and International Law," this essay examines the diplomatic and political rhetoric deployed by past presidents in support of human rights to argue that such "presidential human rights talk" represented an important element of U.S. human rights policy and promoted the transnational transmission of human rights norms. President Trump's complete abandonment of presidential human rights talk signals an end to what remains of American "human rights exceptionalism." Combined with Trump's "America First" approach to foreign policy, which rejects the value of the international institutions the U.S. helped build and sustain over the past 70 years, the end of presidential human rights talk may also mark the end of U.S. human rights diplomacy.



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