The US resolution to leave the UN Human Rights Council is a landmark decision. Certainly, they made it once again on their own, without consulting their allies, and it is an undiplomatic, casual process, fitting of Donald Trump's narcissistic personality.
But instead of getting lost in style issues and Trump-bashing, one should remember that the Federal Republic of Germany is ruled by a seemingly autistic woman who is cutting a Nero-like swath of destruction throughout the country, while Trump is at least trying to avert damage from his country. And above all we should see in a level-headed way that the withdrawal of the USA from the UN body and the symbolism associated with that open up new possibilities and opportunities for German politics.
In response to the crimes of the Second World War there was a moral justification for the introduction of human rights into international politics as a declaratory formula. In addition, human rights belonged to the ‘soft power’ of the US, which acted as global trustees of the good. That was fine so long as they were positioned by the superior Western against the destructive Eastern system in the East-West conflict.
New potential freedom to act
Since then the world has changed, the balance of power has shifted, Western universalism is losing its power of persuasion and the superpower USA is losing its omnipotence. The dysfunctional Third World countries, which internally do not believe in human rights at all, are now using them as a weapon and way to exert pressure on the Euro-Atlantic world. They mean to export their surplus populations there, resulting in the undermining and deformation of the target countries.
Trump's constituents disapprove of this development, and the president is trying to remedy it. This gives Germany new freedom to act. The accusations from abroad and from UN bodies that Germany was violating foreigners’ human rights were so effective in the past, also because, explicitly or implicitly, the authority of the US was behind it as the ultimate power of humanitarian universalism, whose pressure could hardly be evaded.
Now that the Americans have dropped this claim of theirs, the Germans have also been released from the jail of hyper-morality. Now internal action should follow the new freedom. For it to become a reality, however, it requires the replacement of political, media and academic elites.
Originally written for 'Junge Freiheit', where the article appeared under the title 'Trump als deutsche Chance', on 22nd June 2018.