Friday, November 6, 2009

Goldstone, U.S. Policy and the Looming Veto: If the UN is so Irresponsible Why is Obama Its Biggest Cheerleader?

[Please subscribe. Reality is just getting started in beating up on the Obama Administration and the world in general. Lots of analysis to come.]

By Barry Rubin

Now that the UN General Assembly has endorsed the Goldstone Report--a collection of Hamas propoaganda without any independent investigation--the ball is in the court of the Obama Administration. The non-courageous abstention of Britain and France highlights that fact. Despite all the current president's talk of partnership and multilateral cooperation, a great deal of European policy is based on the premise that the United States has to do most of the work, especially the dirty work.

President Barack Obama made a controversial decision in deciding to have the United States participate in the radical-run UN Human Rights Council, reversing Bush administration policy of boycotting the group. Moreover, the president has gone out of his way to talk about how useful the UN is as a force, sometimes it seems to be in his eyes the most important force, to keeping the world peaceful and making it more so.

The new administration argued that by participating it could moderate the course of a body that never defends human rights in a long list of dictatorships (many of which are members and even leaders of it) but just focuses on bashing Israel.

But now that the point about the Council’s function as a propaganda organ for extremist dictatorships is proven, what does the United States do? Its ambassador isn’t going to the discussion in the General Assembly that’s discussing using the ludicrous Goldstone report as a basis for punishing Israel.

If you need to know just one thing about the Goldstone report, here it is: the commission did not investigate anything. It heard a lot of Palestinian and some other anti-Israel witnesses; wrote down what they said; and put it into the report without verifying anything.

A couple of sidebars:

The U.S. Congress, over the opposition of the anti-Israel pretending to be pro-Israel J Street lobby, passed a resolution criticizing the report.

The EU position was presented by Sweden, a country whose government tried to destroy any Swedes who published the “Muhammad” cartoons but refused to condemn the publication of an article portraying Israel as murdering Palestinians to steal their organs. The Swedes, and hence the EU, said the report was serious and the accusations should be investigated further.

The last point sounds reasonable in the abstract but in context is helping the global anti-Israel haters get the report sent for action to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Will the United States veto the resolution in the Security Council? It will take some courage to do so because Obama’s popularity with everyone (including lots of countries generally considered anti-American and even more who want to wipe out Israel) is going to take a big hit as a result.

Or will the United States back down and settle for some easing of the resolution’s language which still makes it a disaster?

This is going to be a big test for Obama, and it is one he cannot avoid.It is also one more step in showing the unworkability of both his ideas and his strategy. Ultimately, his presidency's foreign policy will be judged on whether he and his colleagues can adjust to that factor, admit (at least to themselves) that they were wrong, and change course.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Post a Comment