Today I accompanied my wife to a doctor's visit. As I sat in the crowded waiting room there was a TV directly above me, so I couldn't see it, but I could hear it clear as day, almost as if I had a set of headphones on.
I didn't choose the station. I didn't choose the volume. I couldn't ignore the content, even if I tried.
The station was CNN and they were broadcasting Nikki Haley's Speech to the U.N. live. There were a number of things that struck me right from the get-go.
Nikki Haley had a nasty tone to her voice: Don't tell me she didn't. I didn't read about it, I didn't watch a clip. I heard it in real time. Haley's tone sounded like an angry Mom scolding her teenager.
I feel like she used the term "(America) Will Remember" at least a dozen times: It was probably only twice, but the message was ominous and foreboding as the words reverberated in my head.
She was clear that America had the right to choose where to put its embassy: Being a democratically-elected nation, the administration was clearly peeved that the U.S. was being judged by non-democratically elected nations.
Finally, and this is the most important item: Donald Trump's administration drew a red line on the ground today. That should have been the headline.
After the speech, the talking heads began to bicker as my wife and I left the office. When I got home, I wanted to see what the finally score was. If the vote was a sporting event, the United States would have lost in a rout.
128 Nations Condemned the U.S. for Moving Their Embassy to Jerusalem: All the usual suspects who hate Israel, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Qatar, etc., all voted the way you would have thought. What should have been eye-opening were countries like France, Belgium, and the Netherlands all voting against the U.S. I am going to be crystal clear here, I understand countries like Russia voting against the United States on principal, but countries like Sweden or Germany? All of our friends in Europe who voted against us did so to prevent riots in their own countries. That would make them cowards.
Appeasement: to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.
35 Nations Abstained: A lot of our friends, including Canada and Great Britain, didn't seem to want to get involved. That's their prerogative. Maybe they didn't want to be linked to Trump, maybe they genuinely didn't care, but one day Trump will be out of office and their vote will be recorded in history against America.
9 Nations were Against the Rebuke: Thanks to loyal allies... Toga? Honduras? Nauru?
Now I haven't told you how I feel yet. Donald Trump said he was going to move the embassy if elected and he did it. Would I have done it? Yeah, I don't think so. But I also wouldn't have promised to do so on the campaign trail. If I had to make a list of 1,000 Things I wanted to do when I became President, moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem wouldn't have made the Top 10,000 Things I wanted to do first draft. For the record, Israel has the right to exist and I think I know why Trump delineated his position.
On the same exact day as the Jerusalem vote, this headline sprang up in the USA Today: Anti-Semitism is still alive in Germany as Jews face 'disturbing' discrimination. I think Trump wanted to make a stand for Israel, that's part of it, but not only because he wants to stand with Israel, but I think he's going to use the vote as an excuse to do some cost-cutting in America, which I think was his ultimate end game all along. I'm kind of surprised other nations didn't closely listen to Haley themselves.
I can see the future now. Not today, not tomorrow, but in the near future President Trump will move to cut large chunks of foreign aid, based on today's vote. "Why are we helping those who choose not to be our allies," he'll bellow to the American people. Trump will also propose large cuts, if not the total liquidation, of the United Nations. The vote today regarding Israel will be Exhibit A to the American people as to why the United Nations is no longer a viable entity. Trump will argue that business will still be done in the world through conferences such as the G8 or the G20. And he'll argue that business is already done in the private sector across international borders, he'll be putting 'America First' by saving a few billion dollars by defunding the U.N. (Got to pay for those tax cuts somehow, right?)
The red line I was talking about earlier? Look for a few more controversial votes in the U.N. in the next year so President Trump can shore up his justification for cutting foreign aid. It may be as simple as "you didn't vote with us, you get no money."
Based on your politics reading this at home, cutting foreign aid and eliminating the U.N. may not be the worst things in the world that could happen in America. What I'm saying is, is that when Nikki Haley spoke today, I didn't hear an impassioned plea for understanding as to why we need to recognize the historic city of Jerusalem as the chosen capital city of the country of Israel.
Nope. What I heard today was the spokesperson, for the CEO of a multinational corporation, lecturing shareholders on cost-cutting measures that were coming down the road for those who didn't want to get on board. I can't imagine that most world leaders were appreciative of being threatened on having their funds taken away.