Trump's bullying and bluster on Jerusalem is bad news for the UN


US hard-power diplomacy over Israel will end up being an expensive clash if Washington cuts its funding to the UN



By Patrick Wintour




Play Video
1:03

 'We will remember this’: US slams UN Jerusalem vote – video



Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures and different dreams not just coexist but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect, Donald Trump said in his first speech to the UN general assembly, in September, drawing sighs of relief.



Three months later, those same diverse nations were warned by the US president’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, that she would take their names if they failed at the UN to support the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise the city as the capital of Israel. The era of mutual respect was short-lived.


Mike Pence and Sheldon Adelson pushed for Trump’s Jerusalem move


If soft power, in the words of Joseph Nye, “is the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion,” then Trump has become the ultimate exponent of hard-power diplomacy.


Like many conservatives Mr. Trump doesn’t understand soft power, or value it. Clearly Mr. Trump doesn’t grasp how disruptive his unilaterally repudiating a long held international consensus is.


But there has been something qualitatively different about the US treatment of fellow member states over Jerusalem. The line of attack was so populist, so redolent of a protection racket, that it can only be aimed at a domestic audience rather than an external one. As countless diplomats have warned in the past 24 hours, it will also be counter-productive, only deepening US isolation.


Mr Trump’s bullying approach was a miserable failure with the UN vote 128 yeas to 9 nays. 

Here are a few of the countries that voted against Trump on Jerusalem:

Afghanistan

Albania

Austria

Belarus

Belgium 

Belize

Bulgaria 

Cambodia

China

Chile 

Costa Rica

Denmark

Egypt

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany 

Greece

Indonesia 

Iraq

Italy

Japan 

Jordan

Kuait

Lithuania

Morocco

Napal

Netherlands 

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Niger

Oman

Pakistan

Peru 

Portugal 

Qutar

Russian Federation

Saudi Arabia

Serbia 

Slovenia 

South Africa

Spain

Sudan

Switzerland 

Thailand

Turkey

United Kingdom

Uraguay

Zimbabwe 

The "Free world" that Trump now leads has shrunk to:

 Israel

Guatemala

Honduras

Marshall Islands

Micronesia

Nauru

Palau

Togo

Clumsy bullying like Mr. Trump’s only adds to resentments toward the US, robbing our nation of hard won good will. Bullying doesn’t engender good will, or help our standing in the world.


Yet this could turn into an expensive symbolic clash for the UN as a whole. In 2016, the US remained the largest donor to the United Nations, contributing more than $10bn (£7.5bn) – roughly one-fifth of its collective budget. Of this, $6bn was voluntary and $4bn assessed. The US gives $2.4bn to UN peacekeeping operations alone.



In addition, according to figures from the US government’s aid agency, USAid, in 2016 the US provided $13bn in economic and military assistance to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and $1.6bn to states in east Asia and Oceania.



It provided $13bn to countries in the Middle East and north Africa, $6.7bn to countries in south and central Asia, $1.5bn to states in Europe and Eurasia and $2.2bn to western hemisphere countries, according to USAid.



The danger is that Trump’s row could spiral out of control, causing long-term damage to the UN and to the reform programme of the secretary general, António Guterres.


Moves like these would be a serious blow to the UN, and it’s vital constructive role the UN plays in settling armed conflicts, and addressing global threats to the community of nations. 

Here’s a tweet from a former CIA Director:

America should not choose isolation just because the rest of world won’t put America’s President’s petulant choices first.