Nationalist worldview is recipe for ‘more conflict, less prosperity, Germany tells UN Assembly

21 September 2017

Germany warned the United Nations General Assembly today not to be lured by the siren song of ‘our country first,’ calling it a recipe for more conflict and less prosperity that must be eschewed in favour more international cooperation and the strengthening of the UN


“A world view which puts one’s own national interests first and is no longer engaged in a balancing of interests between the nations and countries of this world is gaining ever more ground,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the Assembly’s 72nd annual general debate.

“National egoism is worthless as a regulatory principle for our world! For this world view describes the world as an arena, a kind of battleground, in which everyone is fighting against everyone else and in which everyone has to assert their own interests, either alone or in alliances of convenience.

“In this world view, the law of the strongest prevails, not the strength of the law. Ladies and gentlemen, I am convinced that we have to rise against this world view. We need more

international cooperation and less national egoism, not the other way round,” he declared.

The motto ‘our country first’ not only leads to more national confrontations and less

prosperity. In the end, there will only be losers,” he added. “In international cooperation, no one loses sovereignty. Rather we all gain new sovereignty which we could no longer have as nation-states on our own in today's world.”

Turning to individual world crises, Mr. Gabriel stressed that international community had made clear it will not accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear provocations, and called for using all diplomatic means to defuse the situation and find a long-term solution.

He cited the international agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear programme as a way out of an impasse, provided all terms are rigorously adhered to.

Full statement available here

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN General Assembly’s annual debate to ‘focus on people,’ ensuring decent life for all

Global leaders gathering at United Nations Headquarters in New York this week for the annual round of top-level diplomatic talks known as the general debate will shine a spotlight on the needs of the world’s people, with discussions on vital issues such as sustainable development and climate change, and set the stage for what the President of the UN General Assembly has dubbed a “year of firsts.”