America’s Moral Cowardice at the UN

April 19 2021

In the past, such American statesman as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick have used their role as ambassadors to the United Nations to speak the truth about bloodthirsty tyrants, especially when those tyrants made the organization a platform for condemning democracies like the U.S. and Israel. By contrast, America’s current UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, used a speech to the General Assembly last month to declare that “slavery is the original sin of America. It’s weaved white supremacy and black inferiority into our founding documents and principles.” Noah Rothman writes:

Thomas-Greenfield is presently focused on getting the U.S. back into the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), an organization from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018—and for good reason. The UNHRC is an organization plagued by corruption. It elevates miscreants like China, Algeria, Congo, Cuba, Pakistan, Venezuela, Russia, and Qatar to membership. It maintains a permanent agenda item—Item Seven—dedicated to the criticism of Israel. It elects people like Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and obsequious apologist for the terror group Hamas, to oversee the situation in the Palestinian territories.

And, of course, the UNHRC appears to share Thomas-Greenfield’s assessment of America’s terribly unimpressive record when it comes to the promotion of racial comity and minority rights. . . . The death of George Floyd proved an occasion for Russia’s envoy to denounce the “calamitous state of human rights” in the U.S., and it allowed China’s representative the chance to denounce America’s “chronic and deep-rooted racial discrimination.”

The tortured effort to equate racial tensions, lingering personal bigotries, and even the illegal (and prosecutable) mishandling of minorities by police with, for example, the resettlement of an entire ethnic minority into reeducation and labor camps requires you to sacrifice even the most elementary powers of discernment. It isn’t enlightened—just the opposite. It is bafflingly stubborn and deliberately dense. Worst of all, it . . . leads its advocates all but to defend the actions of genocidal states. After all, who are we to judge?

If our objective is the advancement and preservation of human rights abroad, this sort of behavior only makes that goal harder to achieve.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Joseph Biden, UNHRC, United Nations

Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy