By Zhao Minghao Source: Global Times Published: 2020-06-23
The United Nations Human Rights Council has recently condemned the discrimination and violent law enforcement against American Africans exposed in the case of George Floyd's death. It has also adopted a resolution filed by African countries which requests UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to "prepare a report on systemic racism... by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent."
Large-scale demonstrations are taking place across the US, during which protesters appeal for justice for African Americans and other ethnic minorities in the US. They demand an end to racial discrimination and police brutality. In this regard, the UN Human Rights Council has every reason to intervene and take action. It was indeed the relatives of Floyd and other victims of police violence, along with hundreds of human rights groups, that urged the UN Human Rights Council to investigate racism in the US.
However, the UN Human Rights Council has received heavy criticism from the Trump administration which withdrew the US from the human rights body in 2019 in protest of what it perceived as an entrenched bias against Israel. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday the resolution marked "a new low" which amounted to hypocrisy. He also declared in a statement that "if the Council were honest, it would recognize the strengths of American democracy and urge authoritarian regimes around the world to model American democracy and to hold their nations to the same high standards of accountability and transparency that we Americans apply to ourselves."
Regarded as "the worst Secretary of State ever" by The New York Times, Pompeo has obviously no shame in propagating double standards. Both Pompeo and US President Donald Trump believe in "white supremacy." Pompeo seems to have achieved nothing except for lying and fanning the flames of social division. His misbehavior is harming the soft power of America and turning "America First" into "American Shame".
Trump's response to George Floyd's death has inflamed tensions across the US. A string of former US politicians including ex-president George W. Bush have admitted that "systemic racism" does exist in the United States of America. John Allen, the president of the Brookings Institution and a retired US Marine Corps four-star general, warned that Trump's actions could "start a US 'slide into illiberalism' and the beginning of the end of 'the American experiment'".
The Trump administration's ambiguous attitude on racism is in stark contrast to its unilateralism and bullyism. It is destroying the "liberal international order" established by the US after World War II. Trump recently has also attacked the International Criminal Court (ICC) in addition to WHO and the UN Human Rights Council, because the ICC intended to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US military and relevant intelligence agents in Afghanistan. Under the US threat of sanctions, the ICC said in a subsequent statement that Trump's authorization of economic and travel sanctions against ICC employees amounted to threats and coercion and were "an unacceptable attempt to interfere with rule of law."
Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies of Stanford University, wrote in Foreign Affairs that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a "global political stress test." Apparently, the US is not doing well in the test. Trump alone does not shoulder all the responsibility of the decline of the democracy in the US, though. Apple polishers like Pompeo also have their share of blame.
A recent survey released by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation based in Denmark shows that more than 60 percent of the global respondents believe that China has done a great job in responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. Only one-third of the respondents believe the US has been effectively dealing with the epidemic. Obviously, a country is not perfect just because it labels itself as a "democratic country." Every nation has its own governance issues that need to be addressed. And Pompeo's arrogance toward the UN Human Rights Council and other countries will only deepen the loathing of the international community against the Trump administration.
The author is a visiting fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.