In his big national-security speech today, the president proclaimed a national-security strategy that would make America No. 1:
America will lead again. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but we will champion the values without apology. We want strong alliances and partnerships based on cooperation and reciprocity. We will make new partnerships with those who share our goals, and make common interests into a common cause. We will not allow inflexible ideology to become an obstacle to peace.
The same day, Trump’s commitment to an inflexible ideological principle that only one other country shares led to a rebuke to the United States at the U.N. Security Council:
The diplomatic fight flared after 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council approved a measure “expressing deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,” a clear nod to the Trump administration.
The US immediately vetoed the resolution, but the overwhelming margin of the initial vote highlighted the administration’s growing isolation over Jerusalem. The measure was drafted by Egypt, one of the Trump administration’s closest allies in the Arab world, and drew support from Britain, France, and other nations with longstanding and warm ties to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who issued the veto, tried rather disingenuously to make this out as a building-location decision:
“Today for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly,” Haley said after the vote.
Treating the ultimate status of Jerusalem as a subject that the U.S. and Israel can dispose of without international assent is not going over well. Perhaps the best (if most subtly worded) rebuke to the Trump/Haley perspective came from Pope Francis the week the president announced the new policy:
“The Holy Land is for us Christians the land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind,” the pope said. “The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be.”
It’s seeming stranger and stranger every day that Trump believes he and he alone can bring peace to the Middle East when so many leaders — Americans and others — have failed. He and his son-in-law (and regional emissary) Jared Kushner keep intimating that the White House has a secret plan that will turn everything around. It is true the administration has united the world on one key issue dividing Israel and the Palestinians. But it’s united against Trump.