Much like Jimmy Carter before him, Barack Obama shied away from conflict at the United Nations, was loath to veto anti-Israel resolutions before the Security Council, and saw the world body as a source of legitimacy for American foreign policy. Nikki Haley, the current ambassador to Turtle Bay, has taken the opposite approach: calling out murderous governments, defending Israel, and warning other nations against condemning the recent White House statement on Jerusalem. By refusing to “join the jackals,” Eli Lake writes—citing Daniel P. Moynihan’s memorable description of the Carter administration’s behavior at the UN—Haley has strengthened Washington’s position:
[Haley] has made it clear that the UN needs America more than America needs the UN. This is not just because the U.S. hosts the body’s headquarters. It’s because the U.S. remains the indispensable member of the organization. It contributes 23 percent of the UN annual budget [and] nearly 30 percent of the budget for the UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. That’s the agency that runs Palestinian schools and medical facilities and that has often turned a blind eye to the participation of outlaws like Hamas. The U.S. provides the logistics for moving troops and material for peace-keeping missions and disaster relief. There is no UN without the U.S. . . .
Under the Obama-Carter theory, Haley’s approach would lead to America’s isolation at the UN. But so far this has not been the case. In one week, Haley was able to help shepherd a UN Security Council resolution this year imposing sanctions on North Korea. One U.S. official [stated that] several member states have reached out to the ambassador for assurances on their bilateral relationship [ahead of yesterday’s] General Assembly vote [on Jerusalem]. . . .
Haley’s tweets and speeches [may not have had] much of an effect on the vote Thursday. UN watchers predicted [correctly that] an overwhelming majority of member states [would] approve a symbolic resolution expressing displeasure at America’s decision to relocate its embassy in Israel. For Barack Obama, that would be a policy failure. For Ambassador Haley and President Trump, it’s a moment of clarity. The jackals will do what they will, but they still need America more than America needs them.