Human Rights in Repressive States: Pragmatism or Principle?

Saudi Arabia has received a poor rating on the Gender Index site.

The 1992 Basic Law of Saudi Arabia does not guarantee gender equality.

Ultimately, what goes in in Saudi Arabia can affect other countries too. It’s important to avoid imperialism, but it’s also important to remember that what is perpetrated over there can affect people in other countries too.
So… for authoritarian and totalitarian states, is it better to make principle-related arguments, or to strategically appeal to self-interest?
In my opinion, principle related arguments often don’t carry much weight in a political context.
Is it possible to make a hard-headed pragmatic case to the Saudis about the possible long-term consequences of gender repression, purely or largely on self-interest grounds?
Is it better to not be too ‘pure’ about this?
Is this one of those situations where strategic cunning should prevail over ethical principle, in order to achieve a genuinely morally consequential goal?

Image attribution:

By Unknown – the actual flag, CC0, Link



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