By Jennifer Rubin
Last week's vote to extend nonmember observer status to the Palestinians was a primer on what is wrong with the United Nations, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority, and the United States when it comes to the Middle East.
One hardly needs to note that the United Nations' Israel obsession comes at a time when it can't bring itself to move against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, religious oppression of Christians in the Middle East, or anything about the authoritarian revanchism in Georgia.
Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies points out, "There was never much doubt that the U.N. General Assembly would overwhelmingly vote to upgrade the Palestinian Authority to the status of nonmember state on Nov. 29. The big surprise of the event was that a number of key Western European countries did not join the United States and vote against the resolution."
You can attribute this sorry state of affairs in large part to the pusillanimous governments of Europe. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is wary of her potential coalition partner and pro-Palestinian Social Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Schanzer notes, "According to one European diplomat well versed in Spain's foreign policy, [French President Francois] Hollande capitalized on the weak Spanish economy to push Madrid to vote for the PLO's upgrade."
Which brings us to the United States and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. She could persuade only the Czech Republic, some Pacific island countries, Canada, and Panama to vote against the upgrade? That's the extent of her diplomatic prowess?
It is unclear if the Obama administration, and Rice specifically, made any effort whatsoever to round up some "no" votes. It is quite likely the United States never communicated to Europeans and other allies (e.g., Australia) that the United States would look unfavorably on their abstentions. Apparently our "improved" relations with allies under Obama don't allow us to ask for anything or get anything of any consequence.
Should she still get the nomination for secretary of state, Rice should be grilled on why the results were so abysmal.