Friday, 22 December 2017

Nikki Haley, the UN, Trump - and rediscovering the concept of gratitude

Nikki Haley, taking names
The main artery leading to our house from Chiswick High Road is too narrow to comfortably allow two cars to pass each other going in opposite directions. I'm far too old to indulge in Alpha-male willy-waving, so, when faced with, say, a tiny Asian woman who can barely see over her dashboard zooming down the crest of the road towards me in a bulbous 4x4, or a big red bus, or an angry-looking fat white bloke in a white van, or a glowering black man in a BMW saloon car, I either slow to a crawl, or, if a collision seems unavoidable, pull into the side of the road and let them pass. All I ask in return is a small acknowledgment that I've done them a favour - a tiny wave or a nod of the head: if I don't receive one, I feel a strong urge to turn round, chase after them, force them off the road, and rip their heads off...

I don't, of course, because (a) I am a civilised human being, (b) killing someone because they didn't say thank you seems a bit extreme, and (c) having avoided being anally raped for 65 years, I don't really want to end up in prison - the place where I'm most likely to find out what it feels like.

What's this all got to do with President Trump and America's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley threatening to cut off aid and other forms of support to those mendicant nations who censured the US for its plan to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem? First, here's what Mrs Haley said:
Donald Trump expressed it somewhat more baldly, as is his wont: “Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care."

The overriding thing which separates left-wingers and right-wingers is the importance they attach to expressing gratitude by word and deed.  For instance, conservatives feel that if a western country takes in a Third World immigrant, that immigrant should acknowledge the host nation's kindness by appearing thankful, and by obeying the laws of that nation and respecting their new country's customs and traditions: if they choose to break the law or to denigrate their host's customs and traditions, they evidently aren't in the least grateful, and should be slung out - just as one would show an obnoxious, disrespectful guest the door pretty damn quick if they demanded you stop serving alcohol because it didn't accord with their beliefs, or pocketed a family heirloom, took a wazz on the carpet or started groping you daughter. Similarly, many left-wingers seem to feel that net welfare recipients (i.e. able-bodied scroungers who take out much more than they've ever put in) have a perfect right to spend other people's money on drink, drugs, giant flat-screen TVs and foreign holidays, while committing crimes, cheeking the very people who are paying for their fecklessness, and loudly demanding ever-larger handouts. (I think this is what is meant by "social justice".)

The principle of "quid pro quo" seems to have fallen into disrepute: it's now more a case of "You scratch my back and I'll stab yours, you bastard." While I suspect the overwhelming majority of  conservatives and right-wingers believe in the principle of quid pro quo, last year's Brexit vote would suggest that many natural leftists aren't averse to it. If there's a more ungrateful lot than tosspot EU bureaucrats, I'd be very surprised.

I just hope Donald Trump and Nikki Haley back up their threats with action.


  1. A sound common sensical response by both Nikki Haley and Mr. Gronmark to the complete lack of ethics, morals and gratitude in an institution that becomes increasingly absurd to put it politely.

  2. Rather taken with Ms Haley, I must say. I wonder if she, one day, will achieve what the misogynistic Left so viciously denied Mrs Palin?

    The only sour note to the whole affair, I felt, was the spectacle of Treezer living down to her miserable reputation by voting to slight Israel and the USA so as to suck up to French and the Germans.

    1. I'm beginning to suspect that, before taking any decision, Mrs. May asks herself, "Now, how would a really weak, useless Prime Minister react to this?"

  3. I suppose the other way of looking at this episode is that it shows how petulant the US can be if it doesn't get its own way. Whatever you think of the decision to give effect to the long standing US policy to move its embassy, it ought to have been abundantly clear that it would be extremely unpopular outside the US, even with those countries which are broadly sympathetic to them. This, together with the judgement that it would undermine the Middle East Peace Process, is probably why successive US Presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike, have done nothing to implement the relevant piece of legislation since it was passed 22 years ago. I can't understand why anyone in the US Government is surprised that the Security Council and General Assembly voted as they did. It indicates either that US diplomats wrongly calculated that after a bit of huffing puffing, their friends in the Security Council would support them because they were the US; or that they knew that they would have no serious supporters and simply don't care anymore what their friends and others think.

    Either way, they now have the temporary satisfaction of believing themselves to be right when everybody else is wrong, which always brings a nice afterglow of moral virtue, such as that shown by Ms Haley. On the minus side, it will now face a lot of requests for massive increases in US funding from those who interpret Ms Haley's threat to take the money away from the ungrateful countries as an indication that the grateful ones can look forward to loads more second generation IT that doesn't work properly. More seriously, the prospect of a US which is prepared to push ahead with an unimportant piece of policy which all of its traditional allies oppose, essentially for ideological reasons, will have been carefully noted for the future by our opponents.

    1. " ought to have been abundantly clear that it would be extremely unpopular outside the US"
      I'm sure it WAS abundantly clear to the US government, and that's why they did it. Let's face it, almost anything that upsets the EU, the UN, the Labour Party and the Arabists at the Foreign Office and the assorted fascist kleptocrat thugs who control vast swathes of the Middle East has to have something going for it. As for the news that America has"friends" - when did this happen? America is now self-sufficient in energy, thanks to fracking, and they no longer have a president who despises his own country and is sympathetic to islamism, so there's bound to be some change in US Middle East policy - thank God!: if that involves more public displays of support for Israel. that's fine by me. As for the "nice afterglow of moral virtue", I doubt the US would have allied itself so openly with unlovely Saudi Arabia if that was what it was after. Unjustified moral preening is what UN, the EU and parts of the British state have been indulging in for decades.

      And why should the US continue to lavish aid on countries that disrespect it? Fuck 'em.

    2. If the US was really not bothered by the reaction of its traditional friends and allies (defined in the UN context by voting records as much as anything else), it would not have unleashed Ms Haley to get all Clint Eastwood with the rest of the world after the vote. From that, I conclude that its diplomats must have done what they usually do when told to deliver a really daft policy - leave everything to the last minute and then try a bit of arm twisting with veiled threats of US retaliation. It didn't work and they're cross about it..

      Your comment about Saudi Arabia assumes that there is a logical thread running through US foreign policy and that decisions taken on a Monday will be consistent with those taken the previous Friday. That is how Reagan ended the Cold War, with patient, consistent diplomacy based on a properly thought through policy which included a thorough analysis of the consequences of success and failure, and backed up by the support of its allies. Taking a wild guess, I don't think that's how the Trump Presidency operates and a US that does not engage on any other basis than a day by day perception of its short-term interest is not good news for the UK or the US's other friends.

  4. Sikh and you will find.

  5. " Do you know what's killing Western democracy, George? Greed. And constipation. moral, political, aesthetic. I hate America very deeply. The economic repression of the masses institutionalised".
    Bill Haydon in "Tinker etc."

    "Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror." Horace.[Harold McMillan's view of Anglo-American relations].

    Ex-KCS. Heaven forfend, I am not suggesting that you subscribe to either of these schools of thought, but this persistent Yank-bashing is getting very tedious [8 years of President Bush and now a year of President Trump]. It smacks of resentment and envy and above all, of parochial arrogance. Look at your own leaders of recent times - a grey, dismal collection of second-raters.

  6. Welcome back, SDG. Thanks for the clarification that you aren't suggesting I share the views of a fictional character caught betraying his country to the Russians and his former lover to months of torture by the KGB. You missed out eight years of Obama, a President about whose policies the Blogmeister has offered the occasional critical comment which may or may not fall into the category of Yank-bashing.

    As you will have noticed I take a different view to that of the Blogmeister on a minor aspect of US foreign policy. It's allowed. Compared to the maelstrom of seething resentment that continues to this day about the merits of Prefab Sprout, it's mild stuff.