Persons of a certain age who lived or grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in the South and Midwest, will probably recall signs, many of them homemade, posted in fields and on barns demanding in bold letters “Get Us Out Of The United Nations.”
The “Get Us Out Of The United Nations” movement withered as it became more and more closely associated with the John Birch Society. It later made a comeback in the late 1990s as Bill Clinton put American troops under UN command and American military personnel and their civilian supporters objected to what appeared to be Clinton’s unconstitutional transfer of the war making power to the discredited international body.
However, if the idea of getting the United States out of the United Nations fell off the radar screen of the establishment’s political opinion leaders, it never died among the conservative grassroots. And it has come back with a vengeance as the UN has shown its complete lack of credibility and moral compass through its votes declaring that the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is null and void.
Enter the biggest political surprise of 2017 – the rise of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley as a stalwart spokesman for President Trump’s foreign policy and the conservative grassroots vision of American leadership on the world stage.
As PJ Media’s Claudia Rosett put it, “If you trust the major headlines, the big news out of the United Nations is that the UN General Assembly just voted overwhelmingly to reprimand the U.S. over President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.”
But the real thunderbolt event here is the U.S. response, says Rosett, in which Ambassador Nikki Haley, with the clear backing of President Trump, delivered a brilliant and clarifying rebuke to the sententious bigots of the UN.
The train was set in motion when President Trump on Dec. 6 announced that the U.S. was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and would be moving the U.S. embassy there, the UN mobilized en masse to slap this down.
The first showdown came says Rosett, at the 15-member UN Security Council, where Egypt introduced a draft resolution calling on all states to refrain from setting up diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. Fourteen Council members voted in favor, including permanent members China, Russia, France, and the U.K., along with rotating members such as Bolivia, Ukraine, Ethiopia and Senegal.
Haley blocked them all by wielding the U.S. veto. That's a big switch from the scene just a year ago, notes Rosett, when President Obama's ambassador, Samantha Power, abstained from a Security Council vote on a resolution savaging Israel, thus allowing it to pass.
Blocked in the Security Council, the UN gang then defaulted to the General Assembly, that Rosett calls “a mushier arena,” where resolutions are nonbinding, but the U.S. has no veto power — just a single vote.
For this stage of the showdown, the vehicle was an "emergency special session," which can be convened by the General Assembly within 24 hours if the Security Council is deemed by various majorities to have failed to exercise its responsibility for maintaining "international peace and security."
This particular special session, the "Tenth emergency special session," dates back to 1997, when it was convened at the request of Qatar. Punctuated by adjournments, but never actually ended, in the name of "peace" this "emergency" session has been devoted for the past 20 years to attacking Israel.
But things being what they are at the UN, the General Assembly Tenth Emergency Special Session arrived at a debate over a resolution drafted by Yemen and Turkey that effectively denounced Trump's decision on Jerusalem as "null and void" and demanded it be rescinded. (The draft resolution, on the "Status of Jerusalem," written in classic, elliptical UN style, did not actually name the U.S., but clearly targeted America and Trump's decision.)
Before the vote, the US president, Donald Trump said at a cabinet meeting: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars … We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
This, in sum, is the august body known as the UN, where what Rosett calls “a parade of hypocrites,” including a disturbing number of tyrants, terror-sponsors and butchers, spent Thursday morning rebuking the U.S., before they voted 128 to nine, with 35 abstaining (and 21 no-shows) to demand the U.S. put its embassy where they prefer — and then adjourned their endless emergency special session, till next time. Quite likely they went to avail themselves of the pleasant facilities at the lavishly refurbished UN headquarters, or the nearby watering holes of midtown Manhattan, for a good lunch. That's how it works at the UN.
What's changed this year, observed Rosett, and what deserves to be treated as big news — and what might ultimately help remind some of America's allies that in dangerous times it would behoove them to stand with America against the likes of Venezuela, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, China and Russia — was the U.S. response. Haley stood up for America. Amid the UN babble, she spoke the truth.
Here's an excerpt from Haley's remarks to the assembled eminences:
"The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies. We do this, in part, in order to advance our values and interests…
But we'll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What's more, that nation is asked to pay for the "privilege" of being disrespected.
In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege."
And Haley was far from done. She added a zinger that cut to the core of the worst moral rot at the UN:
"Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people."
And she spelled out why, even in the diplomatically-insulated chambers of the UN, that should matter quite a lot:
"As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.
We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today."
There was plenty more to Haley's remarks, which are worth reading in full, including her observation that the UN's "disproportionate focus on Israel" is "a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution" and her summary that the President's decision on Jerusalem "reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy."
In a statement released over Christmas, the US mission to the United Nations said next year’s budget would be slashed by over $285 million and unspecified reductions would also be made to the UN’s management and support functions.
The announcement did not make clear the entire amount of the budget or specify what effect the cut would have on the US contribution, but the timing of the announcement communicated all that was necessary.
When Nikki Haley was announced as President Trump’s choice for UN ambassador we looked at her ties to the Republican establishment and announced ourselves as, to say the least, skeptical, but Haley has proven to be one of President Trump’s more inspired personnel choices and her success in that role is the biggest surprise of 2017.