Are money and freedom exclusive?
In President Obama's meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao this week, should discussion of human rights and religious freedom be on par with economic and environmental issues, or should human rights and religious freedom be secondary matters?
Last year, the world's most respected authority on the subject, declared the State of Israel to be a "developed market," meaning it has formally emerged from its "emerging market" status. The reason for this achievement is simple and crucial: Freedom. Israel has the healthiest economy in the region -- by far, because it has the most open market in the region, by far. And, that market is complimented and in fact safeguarded by the freest press and most transparent system of justice in the region.
So, regarding negotiations between the first and second largest economies in the world about the place of human rights next to economic and environmental concerns, the fact is they are interdependent issues just as we are interdependent countries: We do want China to buy our products and our debt, and we must try meanwhile to export our time tested values of individual freedom.
Perhaps the environment which sustains life has some precedent as an issue before the world's leaders. After all, G-d created the heavens and the earth before he created man. However, he created man in his own image and gave man dominion over nature.