Editor's note: This piece was coauthored by Bob Morrison
President Obama deserved high praise for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Or, more accurately, for ordering Navy SEALs bring justice to him. But, the president threw away all the international stature he could rightly claim when he delivered his disastrous May 19th speech at the State Department. In that speech, he called on the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to the bargaining table—with Israel’s indefensible 1967 borders as a starting point.
The Obama administration has been desperately back-pedaling on that one, plaintively reminding all who will listen that the president’s call for 1967 borders included an important qualifier—with agreed upon swaps.
Swaps are sops. What the world heard was 1967 borders. For Israel, those were the borders of war. Three times, the Israelis had to fight for their lives because those borders left them dangerously exposed to Arab aggression.
Mahmoud Abbas, the putative leader of Fatah, has just formed an axis with Hamas. Hamas is the openly terrorist outfit that rides roughshod over Gaza. They’re the wonderful folks who stole the Nobel Peace Prize of Abbas’s late boss and mentor, Yasser Arafat. The award had unconscionably been given to Arafat, the inventor of terrorist airline hijacking. (Come to think of it, there is some justice in the world.)
You would think U.S. policymakers would take advantage of Abbas’s showing his true colors and cut him loose (and cut him off from billions in Western aid). Not so. Instead, Abbas gets a reward for climbing into bed with terrorists. The only “agreed upon swap” that Abbas is interested in under the worn-out land-for-peace formula is this one: Give us all your land, Israel, and only then will you get peace. Swap.
Now, Abbas is planning an end-run around the pesky Americans. He plans to go direct to the UN. He wants the anti-Israel majority in the General Assembly to vote him and his Hamas Big Tent partners in as the UN’s 193rd member state.
Abbas knows that that process cannot be completed at the UN unless the Security Council approves. And he knows that the U.S. has a veto in the Security Council.
President Obama is nervously reassuring friends of Israel here that he will use that veto to protect Israel from a terrorist state on its borders, but he has to be crossing his fingers, hoping he doesn’t have to cast that veto.
If he does, what will become of his much-vaunted “outreach to Muslims?” If the U.S. casts the only veto against Palestinian statehood, it will look like Obama’s Mideast Policy is in shambles. Well, that’s because it is.
Here’s another idea for concentrating the minds of the General Assembly delegates. President Obama has already perfected the pose of “leading from behind.” It’s working so well in Libya. And he’s already on record as saying the U.S. is no more exceptional than, say, the Greeks or the Brits.
By the president’s logic, therefore, the United States has no exceptional right to host the UN for 65 years exclusively and no exceptional right to pay 24% of the UN’s annual budget. If we’re not exceptional, then let’s pay our fair share of the UN budget—6%.
Let’s just be one of those pleasant countries whose flags are proudly displayed outside UN headquarters. We can salute Old Glory somewhere between the banners of United Arab Emirates and Upper Volta.
And let those headquarters be moved to Geneva. Or to Dubai. But definitely out of New York. Let those UN diplomats run up thousands of parking tickets with the Swiss or the Emirs.
President Obama should tell the UN General Assembly that if they really want to sit next to the delegates of a recognized Palestinian nation, they can do so. But they’ll have to pony up a lot more money in UN dues for the privilege and they’ll have to pay a lot more rent in Geneva. Geneva is pricier, even, than New York City.
Like our current president, Theodore Roosevelt won a Nobel Peace Prize. Like him, T.R. favored African proverbs. But unlike Mr. Obama, the Rough Rider knew which African proverb to apply: “Speak softly and carry a Big Stick.” The UN General Assembly could surely use an American Big Stick.