UN Stands Up To US: Will Trump Cut Aid As A Result?
When push comes to shove will U.N. countries buckle to the threats of the most powerful nation in the world or will they unite and stand together? On Thursday they stood up.
On Thursday, the world stood united against Donald Trump after the UN issued a resolution that opposed the U.S leader’s endorsement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As many as 128 countries backed the verdict, with nine against it and 35 abstained. Canada, Poland, Australia, and Mexico are among the 35 nations that abstained.
Earlier in the week the U.S. used its veto rights to oppose a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have demanded that states refrain from placing their diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. It was the 43rd time the U.S. has used a veto power against UN resolutions on Israel.
The U.N.’s decision came as a massive blow to the U.S. and Israel. The latter’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the resolution, labeling the international body “a house of lies”. The Jewish state tried to convince some countries to be absent or abstain from the vote, an effort mobilized by the U.S.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Hayley, threatened to stop supporting states that voted to support the U.N. resolution. Haley insisted that the White House would move its embassy to Jerusalem.
“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. It is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do,” the U.S. envoy stated as quoted by Haaretz.
Haley even went further by stating the U.S. would cut its funding to the U.N. and its agencies following the resolution. Her stance surprised many as expressed by Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Gowan told Vox that the world expects Haley to be softer than Trump regarding foreign policy.
The vote gave an idea of how important Jerusalem issues are to the participating countries. It also showed how willing countries are to stand up to the United States’ bullying tactics.
Canada originally seemed poised to vote against the resolution before changing its mind to abstain. Commentators on Twitter claimed the Trudeau administration didn’t want to be called the U.S puppet.
BREAKING: Canada considered voting against the UNGA resolution on Trump’s Jerusalem announcement but changed vote to abstention after hearing Trump’s threats in order not to be perceived as US puppet, Western diplomats tell me
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) December 21, 2017
Trump expressed anger by accusing U.S. aid recipient nations of betraying and stabbing the U.S. in the back because they voted in favor of the U.N. resolution.
The U.S will unlikely stop funding countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, as those nations understandably can’t support Israel for domestic political reasons.
The U.S threat seemed to be mostly effective on smaller countries who then voted against or decided to abstain from the vote. According to an in-depth report, countries who received .05% of GDP financial or military aid from the U.S tended to oppose the resolution, abstain, or be absent from the voting (regardless of the amount).
Still, it is not that easy to cut aid. Much of the funding for several countries must pass through Congress. There are also some differences to be considered between government, development, and humanitarian assistance. Can the U.S. publicly justify punishing the people in Nepal and Rwanda who need aid to help infrastructure, improve education, health and so on?
Trump, Haley and the United States’ bullying tactics at the U.N. failed. By 129-9 the world stood up to the United States. The vote carried the weight of a pivotal moment in global affairs. When push comes to shove will U.N. countries buckle to the threats of the most powerful nation in the world or will they unite and stand together? On Thursday they stood up. Whether it’s a sign of a shifting global power balance and whether Trump will make good on his threats is to be seen.
What did you think of Trump and Haley’s threats to the United Nations? Can the U.S. strong-arm their way in global affairs?