By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Commentators feigned shock when US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley claimed the US was “taking names” of countries that vote against the US on the Jerusalem issue. But it turns out the US has already been taking names since the Obama years of which countries vote against the US.
On December 20th Haley wrote on Twitter that “At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
US President Donald Trump joined her: “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Reuters news agency quoted him asserting.
This has been greeted with the usual shouts of outrage. Western diplomats have leaked claims to media that they feel the US is using “poor tactics.” A western country claimed more countries would now vote yes because of Haley’s comments. Bolivia and other unnamed states have rushed to brag that they will vote against the US.
CNN has also claimed that there was a “stunning rebuke” of US decision to recognize Jerusalem at the security council as states voted 14-1 against the US.
The idea that foreign aid would be tied to votes at the UN has been greeted as strange by many. Former US Ambassador to Israel tweeted: “We have every right to set the terms. But generally aid is not altruism, but serves our interests: security/CT assistance to key allies, health/humanitarian aid to promote stability etc. Trump can cut if he wants (Cong has a say), but he’ll probably find it harder than he thinks.”
The US already has a list
The US has already been keeping a list of who votes with it at the UN on Israel issues and other issues. When it comes to Israel at the UN the UNGA always votes almost unanimously against Israel. On November 30, 2017 for instance only Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the United States and Israel voted against a resolution “Declaring Israel’s Actions in Syrian Golan, East Jerusalem ‘Null and Void’.”
On November 1, 2017 the UNGA also voted against US trade policy and Cuba, “The final vote was 191 in favor with two no votes by the United States and Israel,” the Miami Herald noted.
The US State Department already has a list of which countries vote against Israel at the UN. Under Barack Obama, the State Department published the list on its web site linked above: “Public Law 101-246, as amended by Public Law 108-447, calls for a separate listing of all Plenary votes cast by UN member states in the General Assembly on resolutions specifically related to Israel that are opposed by the United States. For the fall session of the 70th UN General Assembly in 2015, 18 votes met the criteria.”
The list the US already keeps includes a long data sheet of all the UNGA member states and a percentage of time the countries have voted with the US. The latest version of the law that requires the US to “take name” can be found here at the US Congress.
So if there is already a list and most countries already oppose the US on many issues at the UNGA, what’s the news. Which countries switched their votes to “yes” supposedly. How did it make them “more united.”
Haley and Trump’s comments didn’t change anything.