By withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Trump administration has taken another disturbing step toward abdicating the United States’ longstanding role as a principled leader in the international system, advocating for the rights and freedoms of people across the globe.
While the UNHRC has a sad and troubling record of showing strong bias against Israel, US withdrawal will do nothing to address this issue. On the contrary, it will exacerbate it. The move will simply remove remaining American leverage and influence, further undermining the interests of the US and Israel and empowering those who oppose them. Those who are embracing this decision as a rebuke to critics of Israel are favoring self-destructive spite over serious diplomacy and strategy.
This withdrawal follows a consistent pattern of rhetoric and actions from the current administration that express indifference to human rights violations around the world, hostility toward many of the United States’ closest democratic allies and praise for authoritarian regimes. It is also striking that the decision comes just as the Trump administration faces a growing domestic and international outcry — including from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights — for its appalling and inhumane treatment of migrant families.
This decision sends an unmistakable message: President Trump and his administration are simply not committed to engaging with important international institutions or fighting for universal values. It is further proof that America is in retreat on the world stage.