The empire strikes back?

The US administration’s decision to not veto the (regular) UN Security Council resolution that condemns Israelis settlements followed by an ill-considered attack by Secretary of State John Kerry that even countries that voted for the resolution found objectionable sec was bound to have ramifications. Prime Minister Netanyahu has, of course, expressed his displeasure in pretty loud and clear terms. But, according to a report in Fox News, “Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval … [and] … Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure.

Israeli propaganda outlets have been urging such action for several daysIsraeli propaganda outlets have been urging such action for several days, and it appears that some powerful and popular politicians, including Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio,  are listening.

The US provides between 20% and 25% of the UN’s budget, every penny voted by a congress that is controlled by Republicans. There is, no doubt, a battle going on for the loyalty and financial support of 6 million American Jews who, like many (most?) Canadians Jews, are, generally, quite progressive and liberal on most issues but, equally, adamant that Israel must have a right to exist within secure, defensible borders. Who could or would take up the slack?

China, Germany Russia might, in exchange for some tangible benefits in terms of increased real influence inside the UN, itself. Do we, the US led West really want that? We know that Chancellor Merkel wants to reform the UNSC, which is probably, a good idea, but we also know that her reforms include having a (permanent, 1st class) seat for Germany. Is that the right reform? We can be pretty sure about what Putin and Xi want, too: more and more influence in key positions. Is that desirable?

What about Canada, a country searching, almost desperately, for a temporary, second class seat on the Security Council? Can Justin Trudeau justify sending even more money to foreign sources when there are pressing needs at home?

It seems to me that a thorough reform of the whole UN structure ~ including its relationships with its “member” agencies like the International Maritime OrganizationInternational Maritime Organization, the International Telecommunications Union and the World Intellectual Property Organization, several of which, unlike the UN Security Council and General Assembly, actually do useful and productive work ~ is in order but I’m not convinced that a useful reform can be achieved by driving the bureaucracy into bankruptcy.

Is this notion of starving the UN into submission (to America’s will) a good idea or is it just “the empire” lashing out in futility?

It is a good idea for the incoming administration to do everything it can to nullify the effects of the Obama-Kerry temper tantrum ~ that should include an early, and warm, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, a (temporary) cold shoulder to those who voted for the resolution, and mounting some effective attacks on some UN bodies, like the United Nations Human Rights Council, that make a mockery of the notion of fair or even handed approaches to issues. But it is not clear, not me, anyway, that hamstringing the UN will do much good. It may make some people feel better but that doesn’t count for very much in the larger scheme of things.

2 thoughts on “The empire strikes back?”

  1. I wonder how Canada would have voted? If in favor of the Resolution what could we expect from the Trump administration? Trudeau just wants a second class seat at the dysfunctional UN for his personal vanity, risking Cdn military lives for personal gain.

  2. I love this post Ted. UN is truly dysfunctional, they no longer serve any purpose. Syria war has gone on without any solution insight. Israel is furious over the gang up against her. I only see UN has a window dressed mediator. Obama and Kerry’s attitude towards Israel is worrisome.

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