Abdication of global leadership has consequences



News editor Joshua Dausener discusses the recent decisions made by the Trump Administration that throw fundamental American principles of democracy and human rights by the wayside and the consequences of the United States’ abdication of global leadership.

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor | [email protected]

It’s been a terrible past few months for those who support human rights, the rule of law and evidence-based science.

The brutal murder and dismembering of a journalist by Saudi Arabia, the “disappearing” of the head of the International Police by China and the blatant poisoning of a former spy on British soil by the Russian government all point to a breakdown of international norms and rules centered on human rights.

Recent actions taken by the Trump administration such as withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, National Security Adviser John Bolton deriding the International Criminal Court as “illegitimate,” the President of the United States referring to the press as the “enemy of the American people” and mocking our closest allies while making nice with Vladimir Putin have not gone unnoticed by the strongmen in the world.

A clear message has been sent and received that democracy and human rights are no longer priorities within the highest levels of the American government.

American leadership, or the disavowal of such, has seemingly hit a new low this week with the United States’ refusal to act on the existential threat of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s dire report issued at the beginning of the week has made it clear that humanity has run out of time to dither about on climate change and that we have reached a narrow do-or-die period of time to step up to the plate and avert global catastrophe.

Reasonable people can disagree on the role of the United States in the world, but there is no debate that the renunciation of American leadership carries serious consequences.

After World War II, America leveraged its newfound superpower status to build an international order of rules and institutions which, while not perfect, have brought us the most peaceful and prosperous 70 years of human history.

We are just beginning to see the consequences of America abdicating its leadership, and it has been gravely concerning.