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Crosstalk: Did Haley handle UN correctly?

The “Palestine” issue has dominated politics in the Middle East throughout my lifetime, and is no closer to peaceful resolution today than it has ever been.

If you support abandoning the U.S. role as broker of a two-state, peaceful solution between Israel and the “occupied territories,” you will argue that we are on the right track.

And on one level I agree: The America/Israel coalition has never been willing to do the serious work needed to bring about a Palestinian state — for example, halting settlement construction as negotiated — and by recognizing Jerusalem as the nation’s capital the U.S. is at least being open about working on behalf of Israel.

There is no greater obstacle to peace than the question of Jerusalem, since both the “future Palestinian state” and the nation of Israel claim as the city as their capital.

By naming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we are knowingly rejecting a two-state solution, despite our many years of negotiations to the contrary.

Having broken so completely with past US policy, it’s no surprise that countries supporting the “two-state solution” alongside us in the past should veto this turnabout in U.S. policy.

Which brings me to the question at hand, “Did Haley handle the U.N. correctly?”

Or should I address, first, the question of morality in terms of the member nations of the U.N.?

Perhaps I should.

I have often wondered how we end up working closely with Saudi Arabia — which imprisons political dissidents and worse — by providing weapons, air logistics and information to the coalition formed to fight their war in Yemen.

More than 8,600 people have been killed and 49,000 injured since March 2015, according to the BBC, many of them in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition that backs the president.

The conflict and a blockade imposed by the coalition have also left 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and created the world's largest food security emergency.

I should think we would have some standards as to whom we are willing to ally ourselves with.

But this is nothing new.

Osama Bin Laden, whom we armed and supported in Afghanistan when he was fighting the Soviet Union, later perpetrated the attacks of 911.

America has willingly allied itself with a great many “bad actors” in the Middle East and continues to do so today.

To claim those countries, now voting against the US on the question of Jerusalem, are suddenly “immoral” is a bit of a red herring.

It does raise the question of who voted with the U.S. on this important question, and will be invited to attend Haley’s “friendship party?”

Eight countries recognized the value of supporting the “American pollitical agenda” and voted against the resolution: Guatemala, Honduras and Israel, to begin with. Also Togo, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia and Marshall Islands.


Glad you asked. Togo is officially the Togolese Republic, a sovereign state in West Africa. Palau is an island country located in the Pacific Ocean, which shares a border with US supporter Micronesia as well as Indonesia and the Philippines. Not far from Togo and sharing a border with Micronesia you will also find the Republic of Marshall Islands.

An impressive coalition for the “world’s sole superpower.”

Voting to censure the U.S. decision on Jerusalem are 35 nations, which include not just the “many from countries that are guilty of horrific human rights violations” making up the U.N. but also Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and others.

To view their opposition to the U.S. declaration as “anti-democratic” or even as “anti-American” misses the point: They clearly believe the declaration could compromise peace, destabilize the region and lead to further bloodshed.

Which brings me, once again, to the question at hand: “Did Haley handle the UN correctly?

Having drawn a diplomatic “red line,” it’s refreshing to have a U.S. diplomat “take steps.”

It seems a little childish to “take our money” and go home, and not very effective, but at least our position is now clear.

— Mark Gibson

Finally. An unapologetic voice for America is standing up to bullies in the United Nations General Assembly, many from countries that are guilty of horrific human rights violations.

I refer, of course, to Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rebuke to the 193 U.N. member nations. She warned in December that there would be consequences if they voted to condemn the Trump Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the U.S. embassy there.

“The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations ... We'll be honest with you: when we make generous contributions to the U.N., we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected,” Haley said prior to the vote.

“When a nation is singled out and attacked in this organization, that nation is disrespected,” she continued. “We will remember ... when so many countries come calling on us as they so often do to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

One hundred and twenty-eight nations voted to condemn and annul the U.S. decision regarding Jerusalem.

Among those who voted to condemn the U.S. were North Korea, Iran, Yemen and Venezuela. Seriously? Why are we even at the table with scum and villains?

After the absurd condemnation (doesn’t every other nation have the right to choose its own capital?), Haley announced that the U.S. would cut $285 million in funding from the U.N.’s 2018-19 budget.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. contributed $10 billion to the U.N. in 2016, about 25 percent of its total budget.

Haley also said the U.S. would withdraw from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which routinely takes anti-Israel stances.

We need to stop supporting the U.N., an immoral organization that supports despots and dictators while repeatedly condemning Israel, our greatest ally and the only free-market and genuinely democratic nation in that region.

An example of U.N. bias is the fact that the assembly issued 97 resolutions from 2012 through 2015, 83 of which targeted Israel. Never mind that member nations voting against Israel still stone women accused of adultery, perform honor killings on females who shame the males in their households and kill gays, among other bloody atrocities.

While Israel has continually been in the crosshairs of the U.N., Iran, a major sponsor of terrorism, has only received five condemnations since 2006. Somalia and Sudan, known for the slaughter of innocents, have received zero and Saudi Arabia, which imprisons political dissidents and worse, has also received zero, as have China and Russia, both totalitarian regimes.

The Middle East surrounding Israel is a human rights nightmare, but the U.N. turns a blind eye to that carnage.

A total of 65 countries did not vote for the resolution, with most of these either abstaining or failing to cast a ballot. Smart move since the U.S. is the world’s sole superpower and and the nation called upon most often to render assistance when disaster strikes.

Haley thanked the nations that did not support the U.N.’s political agenda and invited their leaders to a “friendship” party that takes place tomorrow.

It is perfectly acceptable that the Trump administration uses financial pressure and other tools of diplomacy to achieve America’s ends. It is in fact, smart but also necessary if we want to avoid war.

Haley correctly said that support of Israel was about American values since the tiny country is the only free-market democracy in the Middle East.

Israel is rated by Freedom House, which evaluates 193 countries each year in terms of political rights and civil liberties and then scores them, as one of the freest nations in the world.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, there are two nations out of 18 that are rated as free and Israel is one. Yet 16 despotic regimes are allowed by the U.N .to repeatedly condemn their flourishing neighbor.

Enough of this nonsense.

— RaeLynn Ricarte


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