The US had a better week at the UN than critics admit

Eli Lake:
After the UN General Assembly voted this week to condemn U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the conventional wisdom is that the Trump administration has only isolated itself at the United Nations.

And it's easy to see the logic. America's adversaries gloated. Palestinians cheered. Even staunch allies like France and the U.K. joined the majority of finger waggers. After all, the UN General Assembly did vote 128 to 9 to condemn the U.S. after Ambassador Nikki Haley promised that she would be "taking names."

But that headline is hiding the real news. While most of the world was focused on the symbolic gang up at the UN General Assembly, the Trump administration had some quiet diplomatic success. 
Let's start with the meaningful 15-0 vote on Friday to impose new sanctions on North Korea. The U.S. persuaded China, North Korea's primary patron, and Russia, another key trading partner to the Hermit Kingdom, to go along with the resolution -- no small feat. The new sanctions cap oil exports to North Korea at current levels and demand countries expel North Korean foreign workers. The sanctions could be tougher, but diplomacy is a give and take.

On Thursday, the same day of the General Assembly vote, the UN Security Council quietly passed resolution 2396, 15-0, urging all member states to better screen for foreign fighters returning from Syria, imposing new checks on fake passports and requiring member states to notify other countries when such fighters are detained or prosecuted.

Finally, Haley won a personal diplomatic victory on Iran. This week German government spokesman Steffen Seibert acknowledged a recent UN report on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that compiled evidence of Iranian missile transfers to Houthi rebels in Yemen. "The findings contained in the secretary-general's report reinforce our fears that Iran is violating the restrictions on the transfer of arms and ballistic missiles imposed on it," Seibert said. "The report contains several clear indications that there is Iranian involvement in the firing of missiles on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia on July 22 and November 4, i.e. missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen."
The resolution imposing stiffer sanctions on North Korea which was supported by China and Russia will further hamper the North Korean economy with its fuel supply diminished now by 90 percent.  I think the nest actions against the regime should be to cut off its internet connection and shut down internet operations for its operatives outside the country.  That will make it more difficult for the Norks to engage in cyber extortion plots and general cyber attacks.

The move against Iran is also important and it could lead to more agreement on reimposing sanctions against the Islamic religious bigots who run Iran's government.  It also appears to validate Trump's concern about the Iran deal that Obama cut.  I would also like to see more investigation of Iran's ties to North Korea.  Is Iran buying North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles?


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