Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warns Chancellor Olaf Scholz before his trip to China to remind his counterparts in Beijing to respect human rights. The only piquant thing is that she is soaring up to this ethics summit from Uzbekistan of all places, where torture and child labor are the order of the day. “Values-based foreign policy” is highly selective when showing clear edges.

Whoever brought tribulation and endless vices into the world will probably never be known again. One thing is certain: Annalena Baerbock was not.

The German foreign minister and leading Green Party, who wanted to devote herself entirely to genuine humanitarian aid when she was planning her doctorate, followed the absolutely good thing straight away: “Woman. Life. Freedom”. She recently brought the moral euphony of her politics to this triad, which was taken up by the PKK and recently by the Iranian women’s protests. And – as the inventor of feminist foreign policy added at the Green Party Congress – this must be the benchmark for “all governments worldwide”. So go and make all peoples free people, according to the missionary urge from Werderscher Markt, which is certainly understandable in terms of content.

Blessed is he who has a clear edge and who knows how to show it when the opportunity arises. It’s not his fault if the spirit, which always only wants good, occasionally creates evil. “Shit happens!”, as one might exclaim in Baerbock’s hometown of Pattensen in the face of such a dialectic dilemma. Or in the words of Max Weber: “If the consequences of an action flowing from a pure attitude are bad, then the attitude ethicist does not consider the acting person to be responsible, but the world, the stupidity of other people or – the will of God who created them in this way .”

Well then, the current German chief diplomat, Annalena Baerbock, must have thought when she came through the Kazakh capital of Astana two days ago during her trip to Central Asia and promised her colleague Muchtar Tleuberdi parts of the 300 EU billion from the “Global Gateway” initiative with which Brussels and Berlin want to invest in the infrastructure of various countries in the coming years in order to compete with Beijing’s New Silk Road.

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So why not invest in Kazakhstan, which is rich in raw materials – as long as it is “fair, on an equal footing, without gag loans and without a hidden agenda”. In other words, as long as you deal with a pure heart in a world where more evil countries try to impose their influence “with military force and through economic deals that hide a network of dependencies”. A thought that Baerbock intended as a blatant dig at Russia and China – both big players and, unfortunately, bad players in the coveted region around the Caspian Sea.

But no matter what happens on this otherwise rather godforsaken globe, a woman with a clear attitude – and therefore an idealist who runs straight towards her highest goals – always wades dry-shod through every mess. And despite all the reform efforts, the mess is still big in distant Kazakhstan.

According to the latest report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression were severely restricted in the country of 19 million people, which stretches across vast areas between Russia and China; and torture and ill-treatment remained widespread despite efforts to improve it. Journalists and well-known members of the opposition are in prison, child labor and the abuse of lesbians and gays are the order of the day.

But what’s the point? When it comes to the highest, according to Max Weber, the ethicist ultimately only feels responsible for ensuring that “the flame of pure conviction does not go out”. In this sense, Baerbock is also not about the ashes – for example those of protesters who were killed this year at demonstrations against high energy prices – it’s about carrying the flame on: woman – life – freedom!

Baerbock has often formulated this or something similar in the past few months. For example, during a speech to the German Bundestag, where she explained at the beginning of June that she does not differentiate between Uyghurs in China, Ukrainians and persecuted Russian journalists: Germany is taking responsibility “on the basis of values ​​and determination”.

A certainly worth striving for, albeit not an easy mission. After all, Europe’s global gateway is as narrow and tortuous as the road to good. There are also missteps – just think of the new arms deal with Saudi Arabia or Habeck’s gas search in Qatar. And yet: It was only on Monday that Annalena Baerbock tried to follow the trail again.

The Foreign Minister had traveled on to southern Kazakh neighbor Uzbekistan. The same region, a very similar starting point: Uzbekistan, the most populous country in Central Asia, is also rich in raw materials and rare earths, which German industry has so urgently needed since the sanctions against Russia. And just like Kazakhstan, the country is by no means a democratic constitutional state, but is still governed in an authoritarian manner.

Uzbekistan, which was ruled with an iron fist by President Islam Karimov from 1991 to 2016, is taking small steps towards opening up, but according to the human rights organization European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) it is still “one of the most repressive regimes in the world”. Freedom of expression is severely restricted in Uzbekistan, human rights activists and journalists are harassed, beaten and imprisoned. According to ECCHR, torture and other ill-treatment are used systematically in the criminal justice system. Child labor is sad everyday life.

So, should the new value-oriented German foreign policy be slithering around the world again, disoriented, as soon as the readiness to fly had flown around Russia and had to be refueled well before China? Not even close! Because it was from Uzbekistan of all places that Annalena Baerbock now soared to those highest ethical peaks that Max Weber would have once called “cosmic-ethical realism”: In a world of deepening rifts, Baerbock said yesterday in Tashkent, it was “important that let’s move closer together”.

So far, so right. Whoever includes themselves in this “we that are moving closer together” and who is more likely to feel excluded, she hardly made a secret of that later. With a view to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) upcoming trip to China, the German Foreign Minister raised her warning finger in the direction of the Federal Chancellery and announced “that we as the federal government are writing a new China strategy because the Chinese political system has changed in recent years has changed massively and our China policy must therefore also change”.

And as if the veteran trampoline gymnast’s tense twisting somersault wasn’t enough, she added that the issue of human rights and the issue of the recognition of international law should be our basis for international cooperation.

In order not to have to sit down at the table with the devil – a devil, too, who according to the export/import balance sheet of the Federal Statistical Office is still Germany’s most important trading partner – the foreign minister of an economic nation sliding into recession is content with the no less diabolical ones Subdue, only to then curse the will of the god who created the world the way it goddamn it is at Green Party conferences.

The ethicist, however, as Max Weber wrote in “Politics as a Profession”, simply cannot bear this ethical irrationality of the world. In his striving for the unconditionally good, he is radical and merciless Gods be lamented, even make them a bit dangerous.

The original of this article “Germany’s disorientated value policy” comes from Cicero Online.