Statement EES President Dr Ingo Friedrich

Wherever one looks, autocratic rulers are taking over world politics: Trump, Putin, Xi Jingping, Orban, Kaczynski, Netanyahu, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Johnson, Modi, Kim, Al Sisi! They all convey the message to their voters that with them as boss things will get better again, there will be greatness again and glory for their own singular and grand nation.

If these kind of politics become the rule, then many up to now “normal” states will also want to call such “strong leaders” to their top, simply in order to be able to keep up.  Furthermore, it is to be expected that the autocrats will increasingly act like brutal rowdies, and this at the expense of their weaker neighbours, at the expense of an international order, at the expense of the law of nations and international ethics. The largest global players will try to find supporters and vassals around the globe with the help of money, flatteries and threats, in order to be prepared for the “last great fight” for the real number one in the world.

One doesn’t even want to picture how this global “catch as catch can“ will proceed and finally end. Only one thing is clear: European values like fairness, social justice, keeping law and order, climate, and democracy will no longer play a role in this “end fight”.  And the hope that Europe could continue its wonderful way of unity, diversity and democracy unscathed in spite of these global developments, will quickly turn out to be an illusion.

But there is an alternative concept: Europe bethinks of its Christian-humanistic values and its strengths developed over centuries, undauntedly digs its heels in, and openly denounces these destructive and ultimately murderous politics. Europe makes itself the global counsel and leader of a fundamentally different international policy that takes their neighbours’ interests into consideration, and thus becomes the worldwide anchor of keeping the principles according to international law. Just like America, due to its humanity, was for a long time considered the country of desire by entire generations, now Europe has the chance, probably even the duty, to become the worldwide stronghold of reason, humane policy and social role model. To put it in a nutshell, Europe needs to swiftly prepare to take over worldwide responsibility for stability and order in all areas - politically, economically, technologically and militarily - in clear distinction from the egotistical rowdies. This European message for the world of the 21st century can illuminate a European alternative concept to the politics of autocrats, because in the autocratically ruled countries there are “rational people”, too, who are thinking beyond today, and could be convinced by the European alternative concept.  In the end, for reasons of self-preservation, Europe doesn’t have any other choice if it doesn’t want to end up as vassal of one of the new global rowdies.