Comment: The world has always been wrong and it continues!
Editorial of the World of December 23rd.
Editorial of the World. The United States' isolation from the United Nations General Assembly on the Jerusalem question illustrates the narrow-mindedness of the US President on international relations.
Editorial of the World. The threat is a diplomatic tool like any other, but its use meets some well-understood rules. First, it is better to resort to it only after exhausting other less aggressive forms of persuasion. It should then be agitated only when the stake justifies it, and only if it can allow to prevail. The threat, finally, must be part of a strategy. For not having respected any of these precepts, the United States suffered at the United Nations, on December 21, a humiliation as stinging as useless.
After the Washington veto on December 18, in the Security Council to a resolution disapproving in hushed terms the unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by Donald Trump, the US administration knew that the Palestinians would get a purely symbolic reparation in front of the General Assembly, where they have an overwhelming majority. But instead of minimizing the importance of this vote, the US administration has made a test of truth, stirring virulently the specter of financial sanctions against his opponents.
No doubt this dramatization has led fifty-six countries to abstain or not to take part in the vote. But it did not prevent a rather pitiful isolation of the United States (9 votes against, 128 for). Apart from Israel, they were supported only by Togo, Guatemala, Honduras and four Pacific micro-nations. And the first recipients of US bilateral aid (except Israel) refused to obey.
"Let them vote against us, we'll save a lot of money, we do not care"said Mr. Trump with disdain on Wednesday. It is unlikely, however, that Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan will suffer from their vote on a text reminiscent of the previous resolutions on this issue supported by ... Washington.
Rude enough blackmail
This episode also highlights the problematic reading that the US president makes of international relations. It seems to reduce the aid paid by his country to the maintenance of a clientele of obligated, while it is part of this soft power which one of the first supporters in Washington is none other than the secretary of defense, James Mattis, precisely in the name of American interests.
The UN fiasco also highlights the narrow-mindedness that drove Trump to take sides in Jerusalem. This recognition was decided for reasons of domestic politics: the fulfillment of a campaign commitment, as if the electoral promise was by definition adorned with all the virtues, and the satisfaction of a quasi-captive electorate.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, then resorted to this rather rudimentary blackmail according to imperatives that certainly have little to do with the Middle East. Member of a party where it is always popular to attack the UN, it has made grow on this occasion a political capital that it intends to convert when the time comes.
The unlikely sequence that began on December 6 has been a main casualty for now: Trump's ambition to succeed where all his predecessors failed. By dramatizing again the stake of Jerusalem, the American administration is setting a precedent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: it has placed itself in a situation of failure even before having slaughtered its cards.