Criticism is most useful when it imagines viable alternatives. This is why the most recent wave of outrage over the elections to the UN Human Rights Council seems counter-productive. Yes, egregious human rights violators have been elected to the Council. Yes, Iran was kept off the Council in exchange for a seat on the women’s rights commission . And, yes, the elections were uncontested, with regional blocs putting forth the same number of candidates as vacancies. These facts have led observers to describe the body as a farce, as all pretense, and to decry US participation in the Council.

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