By Charles P. Pierce
December 22, 2017
Nikki Haley, ambassador to the U.N.
Victimology is baked so deeply into the American Right that you might as well try to take the yeast out of a store-bought loaf of rye bread as pry the phantom oppression out of the modern conservative mind. This was illustrated full-on Thursday when Nikki Haley, ambassador to the U.N. and long-lost Piranha sister, told the rest of the world that Uncle Sucker has left the building, pally.
Standing here today, being forced to defend sovereignty and the integrity of my country – the United States of America – many of the same thoughts have come to mind. 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 our interests. When that happens, our participation in the UN produces great good for the world. Together we feed, clothe, and educate desperate people. We nurture and sustain fragile peace in conflict areas throughout the world. And we hold outlaw regimes accountable. We do this because it represents who we are. It is our American way.
And What Thanks Do We Get?
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. Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent.
Why Is Dominica Always Picking On Us, Anyway?
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 the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today. Instead, there is a larger point to make. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.
Oh, Get A Grip.
We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit. America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.
Not for nothing, but the reason the decision to move the embassy is so unpopular is not because we’re moving the embassy, but because the president* also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s historic capital. That’s the match thrown into the powder magazine. In addition, countries exercise their rights as sovereign nations in destructive ways all the time. (And, in the past, when, say, Chile has exercised its sovereign rights in a way we didn’t like, we showed them what we thought of their sovereign rights as a nation.) I’m at a loss to see what good can come from all this angry whinging.
“I’m sorry, poor cholera-stricken Yemeni children. I know our good friends and allies are reducing your country to rubble, but your government voted the wrong way so UNICEF and UNESCO are going to have to pound sand. Speaking of pounding sand, you might want to duck.”
If this administration* feels so put upon by the rest of the world, let it have the guts to pull the country out of the U.N. entirely, and do it in the open, and not through clumsy threats and angry laments about the ingratitude of it all. Did we lose the vote in the General Assembly? Of course, we did, 128-65. You get someone dependent upon what you provide, and then you threaten to withhold it if that person doesn’t do exactly what you say. That’s not how a great democracy acts. It’s how drug dealers do business.