Undoing Obama's Latest Legacy as UN Abstainer-in-Chief
To President Obama's legacy of foreign policy debacles, we can now add his landmark betrayal of Israel, carried out Dec. 23rd at the United Nations. By declining to wield the U.S. veto at the Security Council, by choosing instead to abstain -- by Vanishing-from-Behind -- Obama allowed the passage, by a vote of 14 in favor, 1 abstaining, of Resolution 2334. In the guise of condemning Israeli settlements, this resolution is configured to delegitimize and imperil Israel itself, America's longtime ally and the only democracy in the Middle East.
With that signal abstention, Obama abandoned decades of U.S. practice of defending Israel against the bigots and thug governments that routinely sit on the Security Council, including permanent members Russia and China, and their rotating sidekicks, such as Venezuela. As a Wall Street Journal editorial accurately put it, referring to the U.S. abstention: "What it reveals clearly is the Obama administration's animus against the state of Israel itself. No longer needing Jewish votes, Mr. Obama was free, finally, to punish the Jewish state in a way no previous president has done."
It is not only Israel that Obama is punishing. It is America itself, and the voters who had the audacity at the polls to choose, over Obama's heiress-designate, a candidate who clearly stated his intention to restore American power, and reverse Obama's policies of coddling enemies, such as Iran, and snubbing allies, such as Israel. President-elect Donald Trump urged Obama to veto this resolution. Obama, with less than four weeks left in office, instead took time out from his Hawaiian holiday to order that the U.S. -- to borrow one of the notorious phrases from the 2012 debacle in Benghazi -- stand down.
Then, in a series of scenes that could have been scripted by George Orwell, Obama's senior functionaries blurred, fudged or outright lied about what his administration had just done. Officially, the body blow to Israel at the UN was presented as tough love, a farewell gesture of support to Israel's peace and security from a caring President Obama.
At the UN Security Council, Ambassador Samantha Power delivered an "Explanation of Vote," in which, in dulcet voice, she included some of the phoniest baloney ever dished out by a U.S. ambassador to the UN. She began by appropriating as a moral authority for Obama's perfidy none other than President Ronald Reagan, circa 1982. Power quoted Reagan at some length, but here's the gist:
The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transitional period.
As Power then noted, Reagan at the time was floating a proposal that "was not realized." As she did not bother to mention, there is also a vast difference between the U.S. not supporting settlements, and the U.S. consigning Israel, undefended, to the condemnations, bigoted tilt and largely indelible resolutions of the UN Security Council. For that matter, for all Reagan's brilliant handling of the Soviet Union, his weak spot was Middle East policy, including his retreat from Lebanon a year after the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. But for Power's purposes, none of these realities intruded. Having conjured Reagan as a moral anchor for Obama's abdication of American integrity and leadership, she assured her audience that Reagan's words (never mind how they get fed through the Obama administration meatgrinder) "are still illuminating."