The Economist says you were unsure which party you should represent when you first entered politics. But you are ambitious . . . and from South Carolina . . . so you chose the Republican party. You joined the local religion, too. Good for you.
On this Christmas Day, we recall that near Bethlehem, there were shepherds out in the field, “and an angel of the Lord appeared to them. . . and the angel said. . . I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.” Luke 2. And we behold: the angel did not say “America First!” He said “This will be a sign for you,” and “suddenly there was … a multitude of the heavenly host … saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men.’” And I’m sure the angels meant “women,” too.
When we contemplate the good fortune of these United States, we see that we have secured peace among men through the rule of law. We have strong independent courts. Our courts are not immune from politics, but they are independent all the same. Judges are deliberative; they must justify what they do with reasoned arguments. We have a Supreme Court as a “decider” of last resort. Mostly the executive follows what the courts say, even if not always. And we think of that infamous son of the Carolinas, Andrew Jackson. See, Worcester v. Georgia. We like living under the rule of law. It’s a good thing. Surely you agree.
Now that you are in a position of influence, Nikki, how will you help secure peace on earth among men? You are the daughter of immigrants. You’ve been blessed that your parents have made a home in our land of freedom under the rule of law. And you’ve done us proud, becoming a South Carolina legislator, governor, and now ambassador to the United Nations. How will you use this platform to secure peace among men (and women too)?
You were born in 1972, and you have not seen the scourge of war up close. Your husband has done good work in Afghanistan, helping farmers improve their agriculture, to help them transition to cash crops other than opium poppies. But in order to make this transition successfully, they will need the peace and stability that comes with the rule of law. They will need the support of the international community, working together. It means we can’t always act unilaterally; it means we can’t always do exactly as we please.
After the horrors of World War II, the nations of the world got together in San Francisco and adopted the United Nations Charter:
“To maintain international peace and security, . . . ;To develop friendly relations among nations . . . ;To achieve international co-operation . . . ; and To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.”
Surely you agree, to secure peace among men and women is doing God’s work.
The nations tried to delegate more authority to the UN than they had granted to the League of Nations. Notably, in Article 41, the UN was given powers to implement measures not involving force, such as interruptions of economic relations, and severance of diplomatic relations; and in Article 42 the UN was given authority to raise an armed force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Article 24 of the charter provides that the members of the UN grant to the Security Council the primary responsibility to take prompt and effective action to secure the peace as it sees fit. Article 25 provides that each member shall “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.” As you know, as a permanent member of the Security Council, the United States has special privileges: it has the power to veto Security Council resolutions.
This week you rallied the nations of the Security Council to support you in new sanctions against North Korea. These measures will require cooperation from Russia and China. How will you feel when the Chinese and Russians undermine these sanctions? You won’t like it, and you will be right, because it will demonstrate a lack of commitment to international law by these nations, a lack of commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder to secure peace among men and women.
So we are surprised that this week you seemed annoyed that anyone should question your unilateral action to not accept and not implement Security Council Resolution 478. This 1980 resolution resolved that the nations of the world shall not maintain their embassy in Jerusalem until Israel complies with existing Security Council resolutions, or until a final status agreement is reached with respect to Jerusalem by the parties.
SC478 states in relevant part:
The Security Council . . . .Reaffirming its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel, . . . 5. Decides not to recognize the “basic law” (annexing East Jerusalem) and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem and calls upon: (a) All Member States to accept this decision; (b) Those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City.
As you know, Israel benefits from the legitimacy conferred by the United Nations with its 1947 partition resolution 181, which divided Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem to be administered as an international district. The sanction of SC478 that states shall withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem pending Israel’s compliance with prior UN resolutions, or a final status agreement (meaning the end of occupation), is surely the mildest of sanctions. It is symbolic, and it adheres to the oft repeated collective judgment of the UN. Standing together behind this collective judgment, in which we acquiesced, is an important endorsement of the rule of law.
You say “it’s what the American people want,” but you know this is not true. Polling released a week ago indicates that a mere 36% of the American public supports the move. And, of course, you are aware that fewer than half the people voted for Donald Trump for president, and that nearly 3 million more voters cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Don’t turn into an infamous daughter of the Carolina’s, Nikki.
Adhering to the rule of law in the context of the UN requires political will. The UN lacks enforcement mechanism, so it requires a commitment to collective action. The US could have vetoed SC478 in 1980, but we elected not to. By signing the UN Charter, we committed ourselves to “accept and carry out” the decisions of the Security Council that make it past the veto gauntlet.
By moving our embassy to Jerusalem we are violating SC478 and we are undermining the rule of law in the international sphere. We are setting a bad example. This is not a move to secure peace among men and women.
Your threat to reduce funding for anyone who has the temerity to object to your violation of SC478 further undermines peace and harmony of the international sphere. Don’t back away from the rule of law, Nikki. That is our wish for Christmas.
This post originally appeared on Roland Nikles’s website.