Taking names: Guess which countries support the US in the UN?
The U.N. vote condemning the U.S. for relocating its embassy to Israel really shook out the friends from the phonies. There actually were some surprises.
Among the small circle of countries that supported the U.S. in the United Nations Thursday, where a vote was taken to condemn the U.S. for moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, a few stick out as fairly unexpected – most of all from the Americas. Here is the list:
Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo.
Honduras? Guatemala? Those countries actually voted "no" on condemning the U.S. They didn't try to weasel out of it by abstaining; they really voted "no." They actually sided with the U.S.'s sovereign prerogative to make its own decisions on where to site the U.S. embassy in Israel in an affirmative way. Compare and contrast with our longtime allies such as the United Kingdom, which couldn't even be bothered to abstain.
Now, before commenting further, note that much was made of the U.S. threat to cut off aid to any nation that fails to mind its own beeswax, as U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley (who, by the way, is proving herself the greatest U.S. envoy to the U.N. since Jeanne Kirkpatrick) warned in this statement, reported in the Washington Examiner:
"America will put our embassy in Jerusalem," she said. "That is what the American people want us to do and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN, and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN, and this vote will be remembered."
So did the nations that unexpectedly voted for us want something that badly? Maybe, but they probably didn't need a U.S. warning, given what is at stake for them. All this vote did was highlight how important it was to them, and that is useful information to the U.S.
Two nations in this category stick out: Guatemala and Honduras.
Both nations, which have seen steep surges of emigration to the U.S., are desperate for an immigration accord with the U.S. Guatemala's president, Jimmy Morales, who was elected a few years ago as the Guatemalan Trump on an anti-corruption platform, likely has real sympathies with the U.S. leadership. It's also obvious that he has some needs, too. Last September, he laid this out at the U.N., according to U.N. News:
Institutional and international action on migration was an important issue for Guatemala, President Morales continued, including partnership with Mexico, Honduras and the United States. Guatemala was counting on the efforts of Member States to negotiate an agreement on safe, regular and orderly migration. Turning to the situation of the so-called "dreamers" in the United States, he said Guatemala hoped that the American people's sense of humanity would lead to the US Senate adopting legislation that would allow "dreamers" to enjoy legal status in that country.
Should these countries be rewarded with amnesty for their illegal emigrants over this vote? Maybe not a full amnesty, but it wouldn't hurt for us to help them out, given that it took a lot of courage to give those "no" votes. Perhaps extended temporary protected status for Honduran and Guatemalan nationals would be workable, which Honduras got as a six-month extension few weeks ago and seemed grateful for. Extending it also would send a message to the others (such as El Salvador, a gigantic exporter of illegal aliens, which is seeking an extension for its own 195,000 nationals here illegally in the states in January) that good things come to nations that vote to respect U.S. sovereignty at the U.N.
The net effect of this "no" vote assures us that this really matters to these countries and that they are going to meet us halfway in obtaining their goals. Call it the art of the deal.
Meanwhile, the outer circle of U.S. support, the countries that either abstained or else just didn't show up for the vote at all, is an interesting list, too:
Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Trinidad-Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, and Vanuatu.
Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Canada, and Mexico stand out, because they are all in this hemisphere, too. There also was significant representation from the Caribbean, including its major states: Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, as well as tiny Antigua-Barbuda. The U.S. gives a relatively small amount of aid to Latin America – only $2.2 billion – so aid cannot have been the entire story.
What, really, does Argentina want from us? Or Paraguay?
Argentina and probably most of the other Western Hemisphere states that voted or abstained for us were likely at least partially motivated by a common historic theme in the Americas: that nations are sovereign, and the U.N. (or the U.S.) has no right to tell them what to do. Nationalism is a running theme in the Americas. The biggest flag-waving nations in the world tend to be on this side of the globe.
Argentina recently called on the U.S. Navy to assist it with a crippled submarine lost at sea, and its navy needs substantial upgrades, so it could be that. But as in the case of Guatemala, it's worth looking at who the leadership of the country is: Mauricio Macri, another leader, who, like Morales, came to office as an outsider from the private sector and, like Trump, has a substantial background as a successful businessman (in automobiles). Personalities are likely at work here.
Colombia is a historically big U.S. aid recipient, but that aid has significantly diminished in the last two years as Colombia has chased out its narco-terrorists and made a peace treaty (however questionable) with most of them. It's doubtful that a U.S. threat to cut off aid was the main factor in this decision to abstain from condemning the U.S. Sovereignty is a big deal to Colombia, and the more likely reason is that the country is our longtime ally.
Mexico and Canada are even more interesting. Both nations have a stake in preserving the North America Free Trade Agreement, and this vote seems to be motivated by that. Neither nation historically has had any trouble with voting against the U.S. in the U.N. in the past, so this stands out. In addition, Mexico would probably like some sort of immigration accord with the U.S. to ensure that its emigrants aren't deported back to the home country in vast numbers all at once. And it probably wants it bad – 2018 is an election year, and a rabid leftist from a far-left opposition party is leading in the polls. It probably made a lot of sense for the Mexicans not to vote against the U.S. this time around.
Paraguay? Honestly, I can't find anything on Paraguay other than that it has a neighbor to its north called Bolivia, whose disgusting Marxist government sarcastically begged to be placed on the U.S. blacklist first. One wonders if Paraguay cast the abstention or was absent just to teach Bolivia a lesson. Paraguay can do what it wants, but its abstention or absence was welcome.
The last country worth noting, as a coda, is another Hispanic country but not in the Americas: the Philippines. This is a country that has a long history of taking U.S. aid and then voting against us in the U.N. This time, it didn't. Could the upcoming U.S. plan to build a base in Palawan, to deter Chinese aggression, have something to do with this? Could President Trump's good relations with the Philippines? Could President Rodrigo Duterte's extreme outsider status and utter loathing for the U.N.? Hard to think not. But with that calculus, one wonders why it wasn't a full-blown "no." That said, an abstention was good enough.
That draws an interesting picture of who is willing to support us and who isn't. Funny how these things shake out. Now we know who is serious; before this, we didn't. It goes to show that ultimately, President Trump's art of the deal pretty well worked to the U.S.'s advantage.
Ethel Fenig has some interesting additional thoughts:
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned that "the U.S. will be taking names" of those who support or oppose or merely abstain from a U.N. nonbinding resolution criticizing the U.S.'s decision to recognize the reality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its plans to move the U.S. embassy there, just as U.S. embassies the world over are located in each nation's capital.
Yeah, France, Italy and Germany – and you, too, Japan and Nepal and Brazil and Chile – indeed, all 128 who opposed the U.S. – take heed of Haley's words.
But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the @UN, and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.
Those who supported the U.S. in Thursday's vote, or merely abstained, were immediately invited to a thank-you reception scheduled for less than two weeks from the vote.