The U.S. Should Seize the Opportunity to Reform the UN Human Rights Council

In 2018, Washington withdrew from the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC), where representatives of the world’s most brutal dictatorships join with those of democracies to condemn Israel. The Biden administration obtained a seat for America on the council earlier this month, and has argued that the U.S. will be able to do more to correct the body’s flaws from within than by boycotting it. Richard Goldberg and Orde Kittrie urge the White House to make good on its commitments:

Since the council’s creation, it has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than every other country in the world combined. In contrast, the council has adopted zero resolutions on the gross human-rights abuses in China, Cuba, and Russia. In addition, Israel is the only country to which the council dedicates a standing agenda item.

The council currently is preparing its most insidious assault on Israel to date: . . . a new commission of inquiry designed to produce a report falsely accusing Israel of committing apartheid. . . . The commission’s objectives are clear: label Israel as committing apartheid; leverage the commission’s reporting to support the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS), and pressure the International Criminal Court to expand its illegitimate investigation of Israel.

The UNHRC’s fatal flaws stretch beyond its bias against Israel, of course. The council’s membership is dominated by countries that violate human rights, including China, Cuba, Eritrea, Libya, Russia, and Venezuela. The UNHRC’s disproportionate focus on Israel seems designed to distract attention from the gross and systemic abuses committed by the council’s own member states, which are rarely if ever condemned by the council.

In a statement issued moments after the UNHRC election results were announced, Secretary of State Antony Blinken put anti-Israel bias at the top of the Biden administration’s reform agenda. . . . The Biden administration should . . . start building allied support for a resolution to dissolve the [new anti-Israel] commission. There is precedent for the U.S. successfully leading such a reversal when it uses its diplomatic muscle: the 1991 General Assembly vote to repeal a 1975 resolution declaring Zionism to be racism, which is essentially what the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry was established to conclude.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Antony Blinken, U.S. Foreign policy, UNHRC, United Nations

 

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy