Nikki Haley Nails It on the UN and North Korea

Bravo to Nikki Haley, America's ambassador to the United Nations, who put out a statement on Sunday saying that contrary to some reports, the U.S. will not seek an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response to North Korea's second launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

That's a smart break from the longstanding U.S. pattern. Sidelining the UN Security Council may be small potatoes in the face of the daunting problem of ending the threat of North Korea, but it is at least a move in the right direction.

In the past, these crash meetings of the Security Council have served among other things to paper over the failures of U.S. policies meant to stop North Korea. U.S. officials are seen to be doing something -- an emergency meeting of the Security Council! And on paper, they are. Another toothless UN statement is released, or eventually another UN sanctions resolution is approved. But North Korea carries on.

As a rule, American diplomats in response to North Korea's rogue missile and nuclear tests have cultivated a routine of bluster, posturing and portentous UN huddles, all so ritually hollow and predictable that, as I wrote on PJMedia on Saturday, it quite likely serves by now to reassure Pyongyang that no serious response is in the offing. They've heard and seen it all before.

This past Saturday, the day after North Korea's Friday ICBM launch, it looked as if the diplomatic response from the usual quarters was following the same old script -- and on most fronts, it was. The White House condemned North Korea's ICBM test, the State Department "strongly" condemned it, the UN and European Union condemned and called for North Korea to mind its manners. And, right on cue, CBS News reported that the U.S. was seeking an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

In my commentary, on Saturday, I linked to that CBS dispatch, which was headlined: "U.S. wants emergency Security Council meeting over second North Korean ICBM test." I warned that the UN Security Council's record on North Korea has been one of abject failure, stretching back to 2006 (that's when the UN Security Council, with Resolution 1718, set up a North Korea sanctions committee, and kicked off an 11-year run of demanding that North Korea abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear programs).

The day after CBS reported that the U.S. was seeking an emergency meeting of the Security Council, Haley released a statement saying:

Following North Korea's second ICBM launch on Friday, many have asked whether the United States will seek an emergency Security Council session on Monday. Some have even misreported that we are seeking such a session. That is mistaken.

Rarely has it been such a pleasure to learn that I must offer a correction. But I offer it here, along with an apology to Haley, for taking at face value the CBS report, which cited as its source unnamed "U.N. diplomats familiar with ongoing negotiations."