There is no doubt that what happened in the UN over the last few days was historical and unprecedented. It is no longer the same organization that was once headed by leaders of great political caliber, like the Swedish Duke Hammarskjöld and the Austrian stalwart Kurt Waldheim.
The role of this organization has diminished over the years due to the pressures exerted by major powers. No one can forget what happened in 2003 before the invasion of Iraq, when France tried to show the light of reason to the Bush administration, so that the UN does not become a tool for legitimizing the schemes of big powers.
But France failed, when the Bush Jr. administration attacked and invaded Iraq. All the documents that the US presented to the UN, especially the testimony of the then secretary of state General Colin Powell proved to be fake, which was already known to most countries by that time anyway!
What recently happened at the UN again threatens to undermine the prestige of this institution. The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who is of Indian origin, started dictating to members what should they do, including superpowers such as China, Russia, France and Britain.
International media ridiculed Haley’s action and questioned how could the US try to forcing independent countries to agree with what it wantsDr Ahmad al-Farraj
It later became clear that Ms. Haley’s threat proved counterproductive, as most countries voted in favor of a resolution condemning Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with only nine countries that are barely visible on the world map voting against the move. Even among the countries that abstained from voting did not make that decision out of fear of Haley’s threats but because of their relationship with Israel.
Haley did not only issue threats before the voting, but she went further. She invited the representatives of countries who voted against the resolution and those who refrained from voting to attend a big party in order to thank them for standing with America.
This is completely unprecedented in international relations and has happened for the first time at the UN. The international media ridiculed Haley’s action and questioned how is it that the US, which is the leader of the free world and promoter of justice across the globe, would act as an arbiter by trying to force independent countries to agree with what it wants.
Observers believe that these developments would undermine the role of the United Nations in the future. One would have to wait and see how this unseemly precedent would affect the international organization, which was once headed by high-ranking political figures like Kurt Waldheim.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Dr Ahmad al-Farraj is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah daily. He holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Indiana and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He was the Dean of the Arabic Language Institute in King Saud University and a member of the university’s council. He tweets under @amhfarraj.