Saturday, March 18, 2017

At UN, Nikki Haley Cited Corker Plan on Trafficking, State Dept Is Asked of Cuts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 – The day after the UN Security Council debated human trafficking and US Ambassador Nikki Haley cited a proposal by US Senator Bob Corker, including to raise private funds to combat trafficking, in DC the State Department was asked about it: "Nikki Haley, yesterday or the day before, was talking about another billion dollars against human trafficking at the UN.  So how do you reconcile something like that with these kinds of cuts?" Acting spokesperson Mark Toner replied, "this is going to be a conversation that we’re having going forward.  Again, we’re still – and I know I said this a lot, but we’re still in early days here.  We recognize, I think, the challenge in front of us.  The Secretary was very clear in his note to the personnel within the State Department.  There are – this is a challenge.  We’re looking at a restricted budget.  Nobody’s deluded about that.  We’re very clear-eyed about the challenge here.  And that means looking at, as I said, a range of programs across the board, but looking at them with an eye towards where can we find efficiencies, where can we cut cost but not lose effectiveness.  This isn’t about necessarily abandoning certain priorities with respect to others.  It’s about trying to find ways to do more with a little bit less."
   Corker has called for reforms at the UN, few of which are yet to be implemented. This too should change.
  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 17 they have not been replaced.

  But as elsewhere an "Alt USUN" Twitter account continues in a parallel online universe the views of Power, recently calling out 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 questionsat the Security Council stakeout, not pre-screened by Power's spokesman Kurtis Cooper.
  Now the account is opposing any US budget cuts to the UN, and retweeting critiques of Rex Tillerson hand picking media to accompany his trip to Asia. Did they say anything when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took no press, or when Antonio Guterres handpicked Al Jazeera to accompany him to Somalia?
  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.