On December 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 by a vote of 14-0 with the United States abstaining.
The number of the resolution was antiseptic, like the serial numbers tattooed on Jews herded into the Auschwitz extermination camp. The resolution itself was morally squalid, giving new meaning to the definition of double standards. It chastised Israel for imitating the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and every nation since the beginning of time that has drawn its borders based on sheer power—-not justice.
As Thucydides wrote in The History of the Peloponnesian War, the iron law of the universe is that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. That is how national borders have been made and re-made throughout history. The process never ceases.
Among other things, Resolution 2334 lectures Israel about the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.” The lecture is peculiarly unpersuasive coming from the lips of the UNSC, all of which nations reflect the acquisition of territory by force.
The United States, for example, acquired vast territories by force from Native American Indians. It acquired additional territories by force, including California, Arizona, and New Mexico, in the Mexican-American War. In his War Memoirs, U.S. Grant reprehends the war “as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.”
The United States acquired the Panama Canal Zone by force. It acquired Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guantanamo Bay Naval Base by force.
The United States is the least of the territorial thieves sitting as permanent members of the Security Council. Russia, China, Great Britain, and France have worse records of resort to wars to acquire territory by force. The latter two fought each other across the English Channel for four centuries during which their boundaries changed like an accordion.
The United Nation’s injunction against the acquisition of territory by force rewards the biggest territorial thieves historically and punishes the smallest—turning moral justice on its head. It is like strumpets agreeing to prohibit any new competitors in the name of a new morality.
In any event, the U.N. ignores its own commandment. Russia, for instance, acquired Crimea by force in 2015. The territory of the entire nation of Kosovo was acquired by force unleashed by the United States against Serbia in 1999.
Resolution 2334 absurdly denounces Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as having “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law….” But the settlements are every bit as valid as Russians residing in Crimea, Kosovars residing in Kosovo, the British residing in Northern Ireland, or the French residing in Corsica. To repeat, international law is nothing more than the granular application of the principle that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
The United States should withdraw from the United Nations. It is a carnival of moral hypocrisy unable to satisfy even indulgent thresholds of usefulness.
The United States should return to conducting diplomacy ad hoc as it did for more than 170 years before the U.N. was born in 1945. Our problems in the international arena will not diminish by our withdrawal. But at least we will be free of the handicap of marriage to a moral reprobate.