Can Trump Strong Arm the United Nations?


President Donald Trump today appeared to threaten the international community ahead of a United Nations vote Thursday, implying the U.S. could cut foreign aid if countries do not vote the way he wants.

"All these nations that take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council or the assembly, they take hundreds of millions of dollars and billions of dollars and they vote against us," Trump said during a cabinet meeting. “Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care."

Trump added that "people are tired of the United States -- people that live here, our great citizens that love this country -- they’re tired of this country being taken advantage of and we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer."

Trump was discussing the upcoming vote before the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution to denounce Trump's decision earlier this month to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and eventually move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. On Monday the U.S. was forced to veto a related resolution that was agreed to by every other country on the 15-member council, including close U.S. allies like Britain and France. (Israel is currently not among the 10 non-permanent nations that rotate in and out of the Security Council.)

On Twitter Tuesday U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley fired off the first salvo related to the upcoming vote.

"At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more," she wrote. "So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names."

The tough talk puts every foreign nation, especially Arab nations that are in opposition to Trump's move, in the spotlight for the vote. Egypt, in particular, could be a case study in the reach of the American president's influence.

The Egyptian delegation penned Monday's Security Council resolution and is the recipient of millions in American foreign aid. According to government statistics, more than $1.3 billion has been earmarked for Egypt in 2018 to be used to foster "peace and security." (Historically, the actual spent amount is often far lower than the projected figures. In the past five years, Egypt has received on average approximately $151.8 million and a majority of that went to "economic development.")

So, what will the world do? We'll see when delegates from nearly 200 nations gather in New York to cast their votes.

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