It's winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are short and fly by. History hastens towards its unknowable goal in our age.
Despite the minimal light in New York, the United Nations turned its back on its primary founder and funder today. By a vote of 128 to 9, the General Assembly voted to demand that the United States rescind its December 6 declaration that Jerusalem, the site of the world's three major religions, is the capital of Israel.
Major allies like Britain, France, Germany and Japan all voted for the resolution, though weak sisters Australia and Canada abstained.
Aside from Israel, the only countries to side with the United States by voting no were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
The no vote by the little Pacific islands is understandable; Trump could use them for aboveground nuclear testing again. But what's up with Guatemala and Honduras?
Dripping with contempt for the UN, Nikki Haley pronounced, "No vote in the United Nations will make any difference." Why? Because only we, the United States, matter in the world.
She and Trump openly threatened the world's only deliberative institution for "isolating us for a decision that was our sovereign right to make." No, national sovereignty and competitive national interest are history; humanity is sovereign now.
"We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations," Haley darkly averred.
Trump harrumphed after the vote, vying for the world's biggest Scrooge: "Let them vote against us; we'll save a lot. We don't care." The post-World War II international order is officially dead.
So far, Trump has been more bluster than bombs, unlike George W. Bush, who gave the world his administration's self-fulfilling prophecy of a "global war on terrorism" after 9.11 by illegally invading Iraq. President Obama, it turns out, was merely an interregnum between two evil US administrations.
Susan Rice, President Obama's senior policy advisor and UN ambassador, still speaks of "America's unrivaled political, military, technological and economic strength...and the opportunities to expand prosperity, freedom and security through principled leadership."
That's rich coming from Rice. After the Bush Administration invaded Iraq and franchised torture, the Obama Administration whitewashed it and squeezed the last once of goodwill towards America as a "global force for good" with their relentlessly small ball political strategy. Essentially, Obama squandered the last opportunity for the United States to lead in the de facto global society.
Yes, he played nice with the Chinese to get the Paris Climate Accords, but Trump pulled America out of it with a stroke of a pen wielded by his dainty little fingers.
The Iran nuclear deal was an important achievement, but that too is on verge of being undone by 19th century troglodytes like Trump, Mattis, Haley, Kelly and Pompeo (Tillerson and the State Department don't even count).
People around the world now laugh bitterly and derisively at the United States. Bluster and braggadocio define American foreign policy, delusionally set in post-World War II preeminence. Speak loudly with an ugly mouth and wave our big stick. That kind of weakness and loser mentality is a prescription for a real war.
Susan Rice strikes the hollow gong: "Russia...aggressively opposes NATO, the European Union, Western values and American global leadership."
All four of those premises are false or defunct. NATO should have been disbanded after the Soviet Union dissolved. Instead it was an alliance in search of a mission for a decade, self-fulfillingly waiting for a return of Russia as nemesis.
George Bush Senior and James Baker promised Gorbachev in 1989 that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany if Gorbi allowed Germany to reunite. They broke that promise in the spring of 1990 and set the stage for Putin, who came in from the KGB cold in what was still Leningrad to begin his meteoric political rise.
As far as the European Union, it is faltering, if not fracturing under the strain of Brexit and a slew of right-wing regimes, such as Prime Minister Orban's Hungary.
As for "Western values," they have internally collapsed as certainly as communism did in Russia, replaced by individualism's silo mentality. So we now have oligarchy in both Russia and America, as the recent tax scam bill by Republican business (cl)ass-kissers attests.
"American global leadership" has been part fiction, part fig leaf for 25 years. "Trump's National Security Strategy glaringly omits many traditional American priorities. It fails to mention the words 'human rights' or 'extreme poverty,'" Rice says. That's right, they were just words even during the administration you served.
Fascism always succeeds superficially before it fails spectacularly. The worst is ruling in America, but Trump is a catalyst.
Humanity's future is in a race with man's past. We have to presume truth and goodness are losing until we break through. Can we, now?
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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