UN Under Siege By Trump – OpEd


In an ominous sign of things to come, US President-elect Donald Trump has unleashed a fury of verbal assaults on the UN for daring to take action on Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Trump, who has yet no official capacity and ordinarily ought to wait until assuming office, has made it a top priority to target the UN both directly and indirectly, through his henchmen such as ultra-right John Bolton, who in an opinion column in Wall Street Journal, has called on the US to withdraw funding for the UN.

Clearly, consistent with the pre-election dire warnings about the calamitous potential of a Trump presidency, Mr. Trump is in a big rush to dismantle the pillars of global peace and his anti-UN verbiage in a series of tweets clearly illuminates the dangers that lurk ahead for global peace and security, in light of his related call for a big push for US’s nuclear arsenal for the purpose of “outmatching” the rivals, i.e., Russia and China.

This, of course, means an accelerated nuclear arms race, siphoning off precious resources and fueling global proliferation, notwithstanding US’s nuclear strategy that allows for the use of nukes even in conventional theaters.

With respect to the UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel’s relentless annexation of Palestinian land, which is long-over due, the UN’s principled stance is consistent with international law, which Trump and his crew apparently have little use of, thus reminding us of the “rogue superpower” of the Bush era.

As expected, the pro-Israel media in US has not even bothered to delve into the scope of land annexations in the West Bank triggering the UN resolution, with so many US pundits banding with Trump, even on the website of CNN, lambasting the UN, perhaps in a post-election rush to mend ties with Trump. This atrocious anti-Palestinian bias in mainstream US media is, of course, old story, given the nearly total absence of any decent coverage of the systematic Israeli efforts at illegal settlements, displacement of Palestinians, and the like.

Of course, the rest of the international community is fully aware of the on-going atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians, who are entitled to their own independent state and, yet, find the US superpower consistently paying lip service to their cause, to the point that during the 8 years of Obama administration, there was a complete lack of any US backlashes against Israel’s land grab in the West Bank and, instead, Obama is actually distinguished by making substantial increases in US aid to Israel.

Still, Obama’s ‘last hurrah’ in abstaining from the vote on Israel at the Security Council is praiseworthy as a belated corrective step, that ought to translate into new pressures on Israel to curb its insatiable land grab. Certainly, Obama will leave office with a mixed legacy on the Palestinian issue, rightly blamed for sidestepping the Palestinian rights during his two terms in office.

Meanwhile, the UN-bashing Trump is gearing up to launch fresh attacks on the UN, accused by him of being a useless shop talk, when in fact UN performs crucial service for the cause of global peace and security, as well as a host of other issues including human rights, climate, development, refugees, children, health, etc. UN’s peacekeeping operations around the world are absolutely vital for global crisis-management and without the UN’s blue helmets on the ground in some two dozen hotspots around the world, it would be a much more chaotic and dangerous planet.

Trump’s unprincipled attack on the UN as a prelude for his coming efforts to weaken the preeminent world organization is, indeed, bad news for the world community, just as Trump’s racist and Islamophobic agenda is bound to aggravate the socalled ‘clashing civilizations’.

In turn, Trump’s threats to the UN and, with it, to the international community, ought to raise alarms and mobilize the global peace forces in a pitched battle to save the UN from Trump(ism), which evinces signs of new militarism and warmongering.

The new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has a big task ahead of him to galanize the world community on UN’s behalf, to safeguard the precious UN sources in defense of Palestinians confronted with the systematic evaporation of their historic dream for statehood due to Israel’s expansionism, and, as stated by this author in a previous piece, the contrasts between the anti-globalization Trump and the internationalist Guterres could not be any more pronounced.

But, of course, the UN is vital for US’ own global preeminence and it would be fool hardy for Trump and his aids to overlook UN’s crucial contributions to US’s own foreign policy interests. Trump’s irrationality in attacking the UN in fact consists of overlooking this very important yet delicate factor.

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Ph.D. is an Iranian-American political scientist and author specializing in Iran’s foreign and nuclear affairs, and author of several books.

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