Wednesday, March 1, 2017

After Trump Speech, PBS Asks Nikki Haley About NATO, Not The Need for UN Reform

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 28 – After Donald Trump's speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, PBS asked US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley a few questions - mostly about NATO, as it happened. Haley gamely answered about the need for countries to carry their own weight. But PBS should have asked her about the need for, and status of, reform at the UN, where abusive peacekeepers are still paid despite charges of rape, where the corruption that grew in the past decade continues along with censorship to protect it. Maybe next time. Haley issued this: "President Trump spoke for a strong America that is engaged internationally. That's the kind of new American leadership our friends around the world have been waiting for."
 Haley also said she met with Trump on February 27 and is given freedom to form her team, and go and see him anytime.
  But why didn't PBS ask Ambassador Haley about the blocking of Salam Fayyad - had they not heard of it? Is the UN such a backwater? We'll have more on this.
     The Obama administration has been out of power more than a month, but in the backwater that is UN world, his Deputy Permanent Representative for "Reform" Isobel Coleman still says that is her position. Even Samantha Power's former spokesman Kurtis Cooper, as of February 27 after he was replaced, still says online he is spokesperson for the US Mission, like a wan Lenny Bruce. It's time to #MoveOn.
   Madeline Albright, who did so much for Rwandan Tutsi when US Ambassador - not - is now denouncing budget cuts to the State Department. At the UN, there are Departments which could be usefully disbanded, and some UN activities which do more harm than good (not all, of course.)
  Back on US inauguration day on January 20 at the US Mission to the UN the photos of Obama, Biden, Kerry and Samantha Power came down. As of February 27 they have not been replaced.

  But as elsewhere an "Alt USUN" Twitter account continues in a parallel online universe the views of Power, most recently promoting an AFP spoon-fed story about the UN Security Council's Syria chemical weapons draft resolution and calling it the "first test of US influence over Russia." Apparently in this view, if Russia casts a veto, it's a win for US Power. Call it a revived red line. The vote is set for February 28.
  Meanwhile, here is the video Inner City Press put on Twitter of Nikki Haley saying the draft will be put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.” 
@NikkiHaley says US worked on  draft & will put to vote to see “which countries have an excuse for chemical weapons.”

  The account previously called out new Ambassador Nikki Haley for only attending three of 13 UN Security Council meetings, on Ukraine, ISIS and Israel - Palestine.
  Fair enough. But how many meetings did Samantha Power attend? And after the Israel - Palestine meeting Nikki Haley took questions at the Security Council stakeout, not pre-screened by Power's spokesman Kurtis Cooper - who remains at the US Mission, tweeting, along with many others.
  In fact, Isobel Coleman who did nothing when the DC-based whistleblower protection group Government Accountability Project wrote to her about the UN's eviction of the investigative Press, here, still as of February 17 lists herself as the US representative on UN reform. Is it true?
   In the UN itself, Obama and Hillary Clinton nominee Jeffrey Feltman has gotten his UN contract extended. Inner City Press first reported, from multiple sources, that Feltman sought this so that his UN pension would hit the five year vesting dateline. The UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric called Inner City Press' question, and by implication Inner City Press, "despicable." Or is that, deplorable?
  Meanwhile Voice of America, which was shown under the US Freedom of Information Act to have asked the UN to throw out the investigative Press, has now asked about Jared Kushner (video via here) and asked the UK about Nikki Haley's inexperience. Like we said, an alternative universe.

  Other former State Department officials like Bathsheba Crocker wring their hands about changes in foreign policy. But what did they do, when the UN killed 10,000 plus people in Haiti with cholera? They had their time to try to improve the UN, and largely failed. It's time to #MoveOn.