It seems as though the time of unity between the United States and United Nations has come to an end, as the Trump administration takes on the organization’s inclination towards inaction in Syria.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made clear last week that her term at the New York headquarters would mark a change in tone as she defended U.S. missile strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following a deadly chemical attack on citizens, including children.
Haley accused the U.N. of “consistently” failing to act on Syria, while also forcing the Security Council into open session when one nation, Bolivia, apparently tried to discuss the strikes in private.
Recently, U.N. leaders have been showing their resistance to Haley, showing multiple signs of push backs against the Trump administrations.
Secretary General António Guterres’ decision to retain an economist who often attacks President Trump, and a U.N. decision to have Mexico help lead international migration talks, are the latest indications that an already rocky relationship with the Trump administration is on the road to becoming even worse.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed to blog Inner City Press this week that Jeffrey Sachs, a world-renowned economist who has served as a senior U.N. adviser since 2002, will continue in that role.
While Sachs has been in the post for many years, he has been especially callous in his criticism of Trump. Last week, he wrote a column called “Donald Trump’s Climate Fantasies” in which he told readers to pity the president.
“In less than 100 days, we have learned that Trump is a man living in a fantasy world. He issues decrees, barks orders, sends out midnight Tweets, but to no avail. The facts – real ones, not his ‘alternative’ variety – keep intervening,” Sachs wrote.
In March, he wrote a column for The Boston Globe accusing Trump of “mining that deep vein of fear and hate” with his travel ban affecting certain Muslim-majority countries. He also has called Trump the “quintessential short-run populist” and a “non-stop font of lies.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has continued to criticize the biased organization. Haley has been particularly sharp in her criticism of the U.N.’s anti-Israel tilt, working to secure the withdrawal of a report last month that called Israel an “apartheid state,” while Trump’s budget blueprint has implied large cuts to U.N. spending.
“We’ve carried the burden for a really long time,” Haley said recently. “And it doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to pay our due. But at some point, other countries have to step in and start funding these missions, too.”
In February, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein took an apparent shot at the Trump administration’s threat to leave the Human Rights Council, and criticized “political leaders who today wage campaigns against universal human rights, or threaten withdrawal from international or regional treaties and the institutions which uphold them.”
After praising the anti-Trump marches that took place the day after Trump’s inauguration, and adding he was “proud members of my staff took part,” the career Jordanian diplomat warned about political actors who would withdraw from parts of the “mulitilateral system.”
“Our rights, the rights of others, the very future of our planet cannot, must not be thrown aside by these reckless political profiteers,” he said.
The warning was unsuccessful, as the U.S. boycotted the first session of the council amid concerns about anti-Israel resolutions.