The PLO Loses Again (sort of) But So Does the U.S. (really)
In December, we wrote about an attempt by the PLO/PA to upgrade its status at the UN from “observer organization” to “non-voting member.” Partly through the efforts of JINSA members, the US Government got the Europeans to block the vote and the issue was tabled – until Tuesday.
In December, we wrote about an attempt by the PLO/PA to upgrade its status at the UN from “observer organization” to “non-voting member.” Partly through the efforts of JINSA members, the US Government got the Europeans to block the vote and the issue was tabled – until Tuesday. This time, the Europeans supported a watered-down version of there solution and the Palestinians got enhancements to their observer status, elevating them above other observer groups, but still leaving them short of full membership.
To be technical, the Palestinians DID NOT GET THE NON-VOTING MEMBER STATUS THEY SOUGHT (contrary to press reports). And so, in fact, the PA lost again. However, the Palestinian attempts to raise their status in the UN can be understood as a trial run for a campaign to achieve full member status in the wake of a threatened unilateral declaration of statehood on May 5, 1999.
There is no doubt that the big loser here was the United States. Our UN Ambassador, Bill Richardson, strongly urged member states to vote against the proposal, saying, “This is the wrong resolution at the wrong time. It will undermine our efforts… Focusing on symbols likely to divide, rather than on steps to promote cooperation will lead nowhere. Supporting unilateral gestures which will raise suspicion and mistrust between negotiating partners will not take us closer to our goal.”
Good thought. But the resolution passed 124-4 with 10 abstentions. So much for American clout.
There are those who blame our lack of influence at the UN on our failure to pay back dues. But if you count the money the United States has spent in military missions enforcing UN mandates since 1990, the UN owes us money. Our lack of influence can be blamed only on our lack of leadership.
Saddam beat us at the potentially lethal weapons inspection game. President Clinton declined to sanction France and Russia for investments in Iran that violate US laws. India and Pakistan detonated nuclear weapons – Pakistan in defiance of a direct request from the President. The Chinese followed years of export control violations by barring VOA reporters from the President’s entourage and arresting dissidents along the travel route. The President repaid them by delivering the “three no’s” about Taiwan that the Chinese government had long sought. The PA itself has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the US while our government ignores PA violations of the Oslo Accords.
Losing to the PA in the UN General Assembly is just an embarrassment. The real problem is that the Clinton Administration has made it clear that there will be no penalty to those who oppose America on fundamental issues. This portends a most dangerous future.