Informing Iran, “The U.S. is watching what you do,” Amb. Nikki Haley called an emergency meeting Friday of the Security Council regarding the riots in Iran. The session left her and us looking ridiculous.
France’s ambassador tutored Haley that how nations deal with internal disorders is not the council’s concern. Russia’s ambassador suggested the United Nations should have looked into our Occupy Wall Street clashes and how the Missouri cops handled Ferguson.
Fifty years ago, 100 U.S. cities erupted in flames after Martin Luther King’s assassination. Federal troops were called in. In 1992, Los Angeles suffered the worst U.S. riot of the 20th century, after the LA cops who pummeled Rodney King were acquitted in Simi Valley.
Was our handling of these riots any business of the U.N.?
Conservatives have demanded that the U.N. keep its nose out of our sovereign affairs since its birth in 1946. Do we now accept that the U.N. has authority to oversee internal disturbances inside member countries?
Friday’s session fizzled out after Iran’s ambassador suggested the Security Council might take up the Israeli-Palestinian question or the humanitarian crisis produced by the U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen.
The episode exposes a malady of American foreign policy. It lacks consistency, coherence and moral clarity, treats friends and adversaries by separate standards, and is reflexively interventionist.
Consider. Is Iran’s handling of these disorders more damnable than the thousands of extrajudicial killings of drug dealers attributed to our Filipino ally Rodrigo Duterte, whom the president says is doing an “unbelievable job”?
Vladimir Putin, too, is denounced for crimes against democracy for which our allies get a pass.
In Russia, Christianity is flourishing and candidates are declaring against Putin. Some in the Russian press regularly criticize him.
It is alleged that Putin’s regime is responsible for the death of several journalists. But there are more journalists behind bars in the jails of our NATO ally Turkey than in any other country in the world.
What the world too often sees is an America that berates its adversaries for sins against our “values,” while giving allies a general absolution if they follow our lead.
In Putin’s Russia, the Communist Party is running a candidate against him. In China, the Communist Party exercises an absolute monopoly of political power and nobody runs against Xi Jinping.
China’s annexation of the Paracel and Spratly Islands and the entire South China Sea is meekly protested, while Russia is endlessly castigated for its bloodless retrieval of a Crimean peninsula that was recognized as Russian territory under the Romanovs.
China is far the greater challenger to America’s standing as lone superpower. Why, then, this tilt toward China?
Among the reasons U.S. foreign policy lacks consistency and moral clarity is that we Americans no longer agree on what our vital interests are, who our real adversaries are, what our values are, or what a good and Godly country looks like.
World War II and the Cold War gave us moral clarity. If you stood against Hitler, even if you were a monster like Joseph Stalin, we partnered with you.
But now that a worldwide conversion to democracy is no longer America’s mission in the world, what exactly is our mission?
“Great Britain has lost an empire,” said Dean Acheson in 1962, “but not yet found a role.”
Something of the same may fairly be said of us today.
Writes for Creators Syndicate.