Eu and the Human Rights

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Idealism and pragmatism collide in a world globalized by the economy but indifferent to human rights. Europe has a specific role to play. Every civilization has its values. There are religious people, in both denominational or secular societies which are inspired by political philosophies, historical experiences, collective projects or other beliefs. The point is that a society has its own values, otherwise the collective “good” could not be distinguished from “evil”. It would be nice if everyone shared the same values. Hence the reason why, on 10th December 1948, the United Nations Assembly issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But going from words to deeds was not easy, as it normally happens. Not all states signed it and the binding value of the Declaration was not recognized. The non-democratic countries ignored it and from this a long-standing question arose: is it right to force a state to respect the values ​​and rights stated in1 the Declaration?

The answer is not apparent, because in the same years a large part of the world population freed itself from colonialism. It was, therefore, necessary to establish a principle that would prevent the European powers from returning to intrude into the internal affairs of the previously colonized countries. It was a kind of non-intervention principle to be respected without exception. If genocide is taking place in a particular country, can its sovereignty be violated to stop it? For obvious humanitarian reasons, the answer is positive. But is it the same in other less striking cases? If a dictator does not respect the fundamental rights of man, is it right to use weapons to make the way for democracy? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but it is suspected that it is chosen on the basis of other reasons. Actually, we invented the humanitarian wars.

For example, what happens if a dictator who governs one of the largest oil-producing countries suspends the export of oil? Every effort is made to show that the so-called “international community” must intervene against the violations of human rights practiced by that dictator. If public opinion then condemned the intervention by observing that many other dictators do worse, the UN can always legitimize the aggression, potentially largely funded by the aggressor state. Once the war is won, a democratic regime must be established and if the population concerned prefers a different political system, perhaps theocratic, it must be forced – or better “educate” it – to a mandatory democracy. In short: democratize or we will kill you! This has made someone think that the doctrine of the export of democracy is an economic and political issue rather than a problem of ideas. Unfortunately, the Islamic revolution of 1979/80 has tragically shown how a forced modernization, especially when a whole consenting people react, can fall into the abyss of a ferocious religious totalitarianism, which after forty years shows no signs of weakness.

But now the situation has changed. First, it was the Europeans and the Americans who “chose” where human rights were violated, and they had no difficulty in imposing their own strength. Now human rights are violated by China, with which we are and will be bound by commercial interests, from Saudi Arabia which exports oil to the world, from Iran, which threatens to take possession of atomic bombs, from reborn Russia as nuclear power, even if regional. What kind of policy should be implemented there? Pragmatism and idealism collide, and Europe – as the cradle of that civilization that produced the concept of human rights – should find a solution. Ursula von der Leyen immediately declared that her European Commission will be a “geopolitical Commission”, that will have to make its presence felt in the world. How? We shall see.