The global backlash against President Trump’s recent declaration that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel is setting the stage for a major showdown at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, a vote which is expected to be overwhelming opposed to Trump’s statement.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had been making vague warnings of punishment for nations that resist the US on the matter, and President Trump is said to like that idea so much that he’s now overtly threatening to cut off foreign aid to any nation that dares vote against him at the General Assembly.
While the administration seems to be betting this will lead to massive capitulation worldwide, it’s still virtually certain that the resolution will pass by a wide margin. Voting for the US, and by extension, Israel, is unthinkable across the Muslim world, and it’s also hard to imagine that any of the Security Council nations, who already voted against the US, would willingly change course now, when it would be so transparently a reaction to US threats.
But if Trump doesn’t get his way, that too raises an interesting question. For instance, if the vote was 191-2 or some other overwhelming defeat for the US, as some have predicted, it’s going to be awfully hard for President Trump to make good on his threats, since it would mean effectively ending American foreign aid to everyone but Israel.
That’s not likely to sit well with many of the longer-serving US officials, who see foreign aid as “buying influence” abroad. It’s also hard to imagine, having ignored US law on not giving military funding to juntas, that the US will suddenly defund all the world’s juntas at once over Jerusalem.