After President Donald Trump decided to formally acknowledge the heavily disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, tensions in the region flared. Global response was also swift. Last week, the United Nations voted to condemn Trump’s announcement. In response, the United States is slashing its United Nations budget.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations announced Sunday that the U.N.’s 2018-2019 budget would be cut by $285 million. Cuts are also planned for the UN’s management and support components.
“U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley cited the ‘inefficiency and overspending’ of the UN as part of the Trump administration’s decision for the move,” The Daily Mail reports. Haley vowed she would not let “the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.”
In an attempt to reassure the UN that the US wasn’t simply abandoning them, Haley said she would continue to “look at ways to increase the U.N.’s efficiency… while protecting our interests.”
The timing of the announcement, though, suggests the cuts are in response to President Trump’s ongoing work with Israel. He announced his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on December, 6th. Shortly after, he signed a 6-month waiver to delay the move for logistical purposes.
The UN General Assembly voted to reject Trump’s decision. On December 21, as the General Assembly geared up for that vote, Haley gave a stern warning to those who might oppose American interests.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley announced.
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the UN and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
The admonition did little to influence the vote. The end result was128 to 9 and Trump’s move was declared “null and void.”
“The resolution, sponsored by Yemen and Turkey, reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967 – that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” the DM notes.
How will this move change the way President Trump operates internationally? That remains to be seen.