Bullies Of The World

It is a strange thing indeed that the last resort of a bully is to claim to be a victim. This irony was lost on Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, who spoke about how the most powerful country in the word is being ‘bullied’ by the UN, while threatening to cut off aid to countries dependent on  them, in the same sentence.

This terse reaction of the United States came after a resolution of the General Assembly, where 128 member states, out of 158, voted in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem – which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians – can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal.

This reaction was expected by the United States- Trump also laid out a similar threatening message before the meeting- saying he was keeping a watchful eye on the countries that would vote against the United States. However, it may be that the United States’ intimidating approach seemed to backfire on them- many friendly countries, which abstained during the 2015 vote to place the Palestinian flag, voted against the US on this issue, in order to not seen as caving to threat; including the United Kingdom, and Germany, which broke tradition of always abstaining on Israel matters. It is reported that Canada, which sided with the US in 2015 meant to vote against the resolution this year too- but decided to abstain this time, in an effort not to be seen being coerced into doing so by Trump’s pressure. A confrontational attitude may win the support of right-wing domestic voters-but can achieve the opposite effect in the international arena- lessons diplomats would be wise to learn.

While a good day for the resistance, ultimately a UN General Assembly vote is largely symbolic, and this resolution will not stop the US. What it will do is affect US’s relations with countries. It is to be seen on whom US will take its anger out on and cut help to major recipients of US aid such as Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Allies of the United States did not vote against the US decision to ‘bully’ it- the US should remember its mistake in Iraq, where the UN voted against invading it- and realize that this resolution was for the sake of the world’s peace.  As evidenced by Egypt and Israel, peace settlements work, and peace shifted miles away when US made this decision

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