On January 5th, US ambassador Nikki Haley delivered what I’m sure was supposed to frame the US as the well-intentioned freedom police and Iran as Freedom Threat Number One, but her appeal to the UN Security Council didn’t quite go as planned.
One can’t really guess which of Haley’s prepared comments most annoyed the UN Security Council, but this passage seems particularly offensive:
“Freedom loving nations worldwide have spread support for the cause of the Iranian people. Canada. Norway. The United Kingdom. Israel. France. Sweden. The European Union. We honor and appreciate all of these statements of support for universal human rights. But we must do more. The Iranian regime is cutting off internet access in an attempt to shut down communication among the protesters. They are attempting to silence the voice of the Iranian people. We cannot allow that to happen.“
The old We Must Do More appeal was a particularly bold card to play just one month after President Trump took it upon himself to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — needlessly inciting hostility throughout the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa.
This, of course, led to condemnation from the UN General Assembly and indication that they intended to vote publicly to condemn Trump’s declaration — at which point Nikki Haley inexplicably threatened to pull US funding if they did so.
The UN General Assembly moved forward with the vote — because of course they did — and 128 countries voted for the resolution (to disavow Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), while nine voted “NO,” and 35 nations abstained, including Canada, Mexico and Australia.
One doesn’t expect Nikki Haley to be an expert on global affairs, though that’s always nice whenever a person holds her current job, but 32 UN member states officially do not even recognize Israel as anything more than “occupied Palestine.” It boggles the mind that nobody in high-level US diplomacy was aware of the absolute shitshow that Trump started and Haley irritated.
As such, following Haley’s impassioned We Must Do More plea, council members basically went around in orderly fashion to condemn the Iranian government’s response during more than a week of protests.
But then the Security Council chamber became a free-for-all in which the council explained to Nikki Haley what the council is, what it does, and what is a bridge too far. This did not just include traditional adversaries like China and Russia, but also close allies like France and Sweden. The sentiment was that criticism by the Americans was simply a tool to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump has repeatedly condemned.
France’s UN Ambassador, François Delattre, warned against “instrumentalization” of the protests “from the outside.” He added, “We must be wary of any attempt to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have a diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished.” Delattre also asked why the Security Council had not taken up the issue of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, which were also met with a violent response from police.
So… that’s where we are with the UN, thanks to Donald Trump. We are now, as a nation, recognized as equal parts idiot and hypocrite. One can only imagine what else might have been said in the chamber this week, after Donald Trump’s legal team attempted to block a private citizen from publishing a book which is critical of his administration.