The current imbroglio at the United Nations triggered by the abstention of the United States government during the Security Council vote on a measure which condemned the government of Israel over the building of a few apartment blocks in East Jerusalem demonstrates, for me anyway, two things.
First, this action with regard to foreign relations in the Obama administration clearly indicates a tectonic change in our relationship with the government of Israel.
Second, it displays the utter uselessness of the United Nations in terms of preventing war. Any war, regardless of whether it is a “normal” war between two sovereign nations, or a “civil war” such as being waged in Syria. If you believe the term useless is an overstatement, look at how much the UN has done to help the situation in Syria or the situation in Ukraine. Must anything more be said?
The violence between Palestinians and Israelis, which in any other situation would be called a “normal war” is complicated by the fact that one of the two parties involved is acting as a mere front organization for fifty-seven nations, namely the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Of the fifty-seven OIC nations, fifty-six are currently member states in the United Nations, by the way.
Now granting that multiple nations frequently team up with their buddies to fight another team of opposing nations (think “Allies” versus “Axis” in World War II) the case of Israel versus the Palestinians is not quite the same.
For over half a century, Israel has not precisely been fighting on its own against the OIC. Israel always had the most powerful nation on the planet aiding it. The government of the United States of America. Or it had that assurance until five days ago.
While president Obama has claimed in the past to “have Israel’s back”, and regardless of the explanations (or more accurately, excuses) coming out of the White House, it appears that the President, his foreign policy advisers and a huge swath of liberal progressives are more than happy to throw Israel under the bus.
Obama directed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to “abstain” on a resolution placed before the United Nations Security Council which is not simply a finesse of Robert’s Rules of Order of the same magnitude as Obama’s voting “present” on tough votes in the Illinois state Senate. The United States is one of the nations in the United Nations that has the ability to veto any resolution placed before the Security Council. Only the five permanent members of the Security Council (viz., the United States, Russia, France, Britain and People’s Republic of China) have the authority to veto any question placed before the council.
An abstention by a permanent member of the Security Council, when a veto could defeat a resolution and thus protect the people of any member nation, is effectively a vote for approval of the resolution.
Could anyone convince themselves that Obama and Kerry weren’t completely aware of this? Could anyone convince themselves that Obama might have misunderstood what an abstention by the United States would actually mean?
Could this resolution be reversed after the President-Elect is sworn in? Not likely.
A new resolution would have to be submitted to the Security Council, which would repeal the most recent attack on Israel, and voted upon and none of the remaining permanent members of the Security Council pulling another Obama maneuver and vetoing the effort to repeal.
See why the phrase “not likely” seems reasonable?
Some members of Congress and pundits have suggested that threatening the United Nations with the withdrawal of funding might be used as a lever to force a repeal of this resolution.
Again response “not likely” also seems reasonable. Even though the United States currently supports the operations of the United Nations to the tune of over three billion dollars annually (which represents about 22% of the total income for the United Nations) the other smaller nations don’t have any skin in the game. But subconsciously, or even consciously, cutting back minimally on funding for the United Nations will not outweigh the delight they have right now for having “put their thumb in the eye” of the United States.
Reducing the amount of financial support we provide for the United Nations from three billion dollars to zero, and withdrawing from the United Nations would certainly get their attention. Since we would no longer be members of the United Nations nor would we have to recognize the UN as a diplomatic operation in which we had any interest, there would be no logical or consistent rationale to provide the diplomatic courtesies normally accorded to ambassadors from the various nations to those that represent them. The United States would no longer accord them diplomatic immunity. They would not be diplomats from their home nations to the United States. They would not be protected while they gleefully break laws of this country, even though they claim ambassadorial rank while ambassadors to the United Nations.
After all, we don’t offer diplomatic immunity to the Saudi ambassador to Lithuania. If, for example, the ambassador to South Africa from Germany killed someone, while in Italy, the Italian government is not obligated to honor the concept of diplomatic immunity to a murderer who is not the ambassador to their country.
Obeying the laws of the United States while not representing their home nations becomes rather more important to them. When their cars are towed and impounded for illegally parking in Manhattan they don’t get a diplomatic “get-out-of-jail-free” card. Just as any citizen of another country would have to pay their parking tickets while in the United States on a tourist visa, so would these so-called ambassadors to the United Nations.
Leaders of nations that gleefully take every opportunity to denigrate the United States might suddenly find their access to a visa allowing their entry into America for their annual migration and the opportunity to stand in front of the UN General Assembly and spout off seriously curtailed.
Perhaps this would convince these “ambassadors” to return to their homes for “consultations”, and begging their national leaders to either reverse the anti-Israel resolution or, at the very least, reassign them to a more congenial site to practice their useless art.
And not a single shot would need to be fired nor wouldn’t even be any need to be rude.
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