Jun 19, 2018

U.S. backs out of UN Human Rights Council citing anti-Israel bias

The opening of the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Photo: Alain Grosclaude/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has left the United Nations Human Rights Council, explaining that it believes the council has “shown bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members,” reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The decision to leave the 47-nation body, while expected, is the latest move by the Trump administration to distance itself from international groups and agreements that it believes aren't in the best interest of the U.S. — including those that center on climate change, trade, NATO defense spending, and now human rights.

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Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.

American society is teetering on the edge

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The COVID-19 pandemic, record unemployment and escalating social unrest are all pushing American society close to the breaking point.

The big picture: Civilizations don't last forever, and when they collapse, the cause is almost always internal failure. Even in the midst of one of our darkest years, the U.S. still has many factors in its favor, but the fate of past societies holds frightening lessons for what may lie ahead.