The Rosett Report

The United Nations In a Snapshot

Just how anti-American is the United Nations? Huge issues abound, but sometimes it’s most easily summed up by the details. For instance, as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struts the stage this week at the UN General Assembly’s annual opening in New York, the web site of the General Assembly is featuring a rotating display of photos, showing familiar scenes at the UN. Among them is a photo of the General Assembly voting board — the photo you see copied below. It shows the upper portion of the board, on which a vote has just been tallied; green for yes and red for no. If you look a little closer, you’ll notice that the vote is a staggering 187 in favor, two against, with three abstaining. Almost anytime you see that kind of configuration at the UN — an overwhelming number voting one way, and one or two voting the other —  it’s a good bet that one of those two is the United States. The other is probably Israel.

What was the General Assembly voting on? The caption doesn’t say. But I think it’s a very good guess that this photo shows the tally for the Oct., 2010 UN vote calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, in which the U.S. and Israel were the only two voting against. Does the UN General Assembly devote similar fervor to addressing the continuing human rights violations on Cuba, or Cuba’s long practice of making common cause with some of the worst dictatorships on the planet? No way. Cuba is one of the UN General Assembly’s favorite mascots, with a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and a chronically out-sized role on assorted UN governing boards. No matter what your opinion about the U.S. embargo on Cuba, the fact is, when the officialdom of the current General Assembly went looking for a handful of photos to illustrate the GA web site, what emerged was a snapshot that for almost any UN insider would serve as an instant reminder of just how inconsequential America’s vote has become in the General Assembly — the General Assembly that routinely votes the other way, while raking in 22% of its budget courtesy of American taxpayers.