We live in the world we have and not the world we wish we had. We prefer to be surrounded by decent people, but there are always deceitful people here and there. The U.N. is the same thing on a large scale. You have to live with the deceitful people there as you do everywhere else.
Joe Biden knows international affairs. He learned the ropes while on the Foreign Relations Committee, which he chaired twice during his 36 years in the Senate, then during eight years as vice president, while he traveled the world on behalf of Barack Obama.
On top of this, Biden is an insider. He is a man who believes in hallway talks, quibbling with opponents and painful compromises. This is what half a century in politics has taught him, and this is what allows him to hope that his trillion-dollar investment projects will pass.
This tangle of world interests and backroom dealings led him to go after and gain the United States a seat on the controversial United Nations Human Rights Council. “Controversial” doesn’t quite fit when you acknowledge who sits on that council; grotesque would be more apt.
‘A Swamp of Political Prejudice’
This will be Washington’s return to the intergovernmental body after Donald Trump stormed out of it in 2018, with his U.N. ambassador denouncing anti-Israel bias and a membership list littered with reputed human rights abusers.
The bias against Israel is undeniable, almost embarrassing: More resolutions have been passed against the Jewish state for its treatment of Palestinians than against all other rights violators on the planet … combined.
The plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation deserves unequivocal condemnation, and the international community — with the United States and Canada at the forefront — must continue to invest in the creation of a Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside Israel.
The Worst of the Worst
That being said, it is questionable that so much attention is continually given to this conflict at the expense of equally serious, if not worse, abuses elsewhere in the world.
The forced sterilization of Uighurs in China? The persecution of homosexuals, compared to animals, in Nigeria? The labor camps and summary executions in North Korea?
Upon entering the White House, Biden pledged to make respect for human rights a central part of his foreign policy, hence his return to the U.N. Human Rights Council. He will have to hold his breath and elbow his way to the top to advance his ideals.
The United States will be sitting alongside Cameroon, where government forces are accused of torture and murder; Eritrea, which, in addition to ongoing violations of individual rights, has recently committed other abuses in Ethiopian Tigray; and the United Arab Emirates, whose “false image of tolerance” was scratched by Human Rights Watch earlier this month.
In short, this will be another challenge for a president who has no shortage of them.