It’s now Donald ‘James Bond’ Trump vs the rest of the world … and space (universe?)

JUNE 27, 2017 / 8:10 AM / A YEAR AGO
Image of the United States has plunged under Trump, survey shows
BERLIN (Reuters) - The image of the United States has deteriorated sharply across the globe under President Donald Trump and an overwhelming majority of people in other countries have no confidence in his ability to lead, a survey from the PewFive months into Trump’s presidency, the survey spanning 37 nations showed U.S. favorability ratings in the rest of the world slumping to 49 percent from 64 percent at the end of Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House. But the falls were far steeper in some of America’s closest allies, including U.S. neighbors Mexico and Canada, and European partners like Germany and Spain. Trump took office in January pledging to put “America First”. Since then he has pressed ahead with plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, announced he will pull out of the Paris climate accord, and accused countries including Canada, Germany and China of unfair trade practices … for more, go to

It’s now Donald ‘James Bond’ Trump vs the rest of the world … and space (universe?)

KUALA LUMPUR (June 2018): Yesterday (June 19), President Donald Trump announced and ordered Pentagon to immediately set up a “space force” as the sixth branch of the US military.

He also said it was not enough for the presence of the US military in space (universe?), it must be dominant. (Read this for context: - War-waging US now wants both world and space dominance!)

Today, the US announced that it is dumping the United Nations (UN) Council of Human Rights on grounds that the council had failed to act against many nations that had allegedly and clearly violated such rights.

Some of the countries named by the US as human rights violators are Russia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Syria … and African nations.

So, the arrogant war-waging US thinks they are “very human” whenever they drop bombs in sovereign countries and killing millions in the 20th Century?

It is crystal clear that the US has grown a big head and it can take on not only the rest of the world but also space (universe?).

The desperate US, fighting for the global influence that it wielded in the 20th Century, is today a threat to world peace, and the universe.

This is the Donald 'James Bond' Trump era of “Making America Great Again” or is he losing his big head at the expense of the US?

Here are the international news stories that are emerging:

"U.S. withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council over perceived bias against Israel

Here are key moments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley's announcement on June 19. (The Washington Post)

For video, go to

By Carol MorelloJune 19 at 5:59 PM

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has sought major changes on the council throughout her tenure, issued a blistering critique of the panel, saying it had grown more callous over the past year and become a “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” She cited the admission of Congo as a member even as mass graves were being discovered there, and the failure to address human rights abuses in Venezuela and Iran.

“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,” she said during a joint appearance with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the department. “On the contrary. We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

Haley accused governments with woeful human rights records of seeking seats on the council to avoid scrutiny and then resisting proposals for reform.

“When we made it clear we would strongly pursue council reform, these countries came out of the woodwork to oppose it,” she said. “Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt all attempted to undermine our reform efforts this past year.”

The decision to leave the 47-nation body was more definitive than the lesser option of staying on as a nonvoting observer. It represents another retreat by the Trump administration from international groups and agreements whose policies it deems out of sync with American interests on trade, defense, climate change and, now, human rights. And it leaves the council without the United States playing a key role in promoting human rights around the world.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the press alongside Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the State Department on June 19, 2018. (Toya Sarno Jordan/Reuters)

The United States is midway through a three-year term on the council, which is intended to denounce and investigate human rights abuses. A U.S. departure deprives Israel of its chief defender at a forum where Israel’s human rights record comes up for discussion at every meeting, a standing “Item 7” on the agenda.

“By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council’s bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked — including running roughshod over Israel,” said Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House committee that oversees the State Department.

“However, this administration’s approach when it sees a problem is to take the United States off the field,” he added. “That undermines our standing in the world and allows our adversaries to fill the void.”

But Pompeo was scathing in his assessment of the council, calling it an “exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world’s worst human rights abuses going ignored, and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”

“The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses, and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change,” he said.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the U.N. rights forum in 2017 that it needed remove its "chronic anti-Israel bias." (Reuters)

The decision came a day after the U.N. human rights chief slammed the administration’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children after they enter the United States at the Mexican border, calling it “unconscionable” and akin to child abuse.

[Democrats intensify fight for immigrant children]

This is the first time since the Human Rights Council was formed in 2006, replacing the disbanded Human Rights Commission, that a sitting member volunteered to step aside, though Libya was suspended in 2011 after a government crackdown on unarmed protesters.

The United States initially shunned the panel over President George W. Bush’s concerns that so many human rights offenders could be seated through noncompetitive elections for members nominated by their regional colleagues. The Obama administration sought a seat in 2009 in an effort to showcase that human rights were an important aspect of U.S. foreign policy.

Before the United States joined, half the country-specific votes condemned Israel. During the first six years the United States was a member, resolutions critical of Israel dropped to one-fifth. U.S. membership also led to a sharp decrease in the number of special sessions that focused exclusively on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

“It’s true, the Human Rights Council continues to disproportionately focus on Israel,” said Peter Yeo, an official with the United Nations Foundation that connects the organization with private and nongovernmental groups and foundations. “But with U.S. leadership, the attention Israel brought has dropped significantly. U.S. leadership matters. We’re still the only ones with credibility on human rights on the world stage.”

[U.S. says it may pull out of human rights body, citing member abuses, treatment of Israel]

The Trump administration’s irritation with the council makeup and its agenda has been telegraphed with drumbeat regularity by Haley. A year ago, she denigrated it as a “forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion,” and threatened a U.S. exit if the council did not kick out abusive regimes and remove Item 7, the standing resolution critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. She repeated her ultimatum two weeks ago.

Since 2006, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions critical of Israel, 10 times as often as it has criticized Iran. On one day alone in March, the council passed five resolutions condemning Israel.

The council’s current membership includes 14 countries that are ranked as “not free” by Freedom House: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Cuba, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Haley said many countries agree with U.S. accusations of anti-Israel bias on the council and hypocrisy by abusers but would not openly challenge the status quo.

“We gave them opportunity after opportunity, and many months of consultations, and yet they would not take a stand unless it was behind closed doors,” she said. “Some even admitted they were fine with the blatant flaws of the council, as long as they could pursue their own narrow agenda within the current structure.”

Bret Schaefer, a Heritage Foundation scholar who analyzes U.N. actions, called the withdrawal a “measured” response.

“The Trump administration seems to be the only government that seriously wanted the Human Rights Council to promote universal respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in a fair and equal manner,” he said.

But some questioned whether a U.S. withdrawal will lead to reforms, or further undermine the council’s mission.

“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The U.N. Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”

US withdraws from UN rights council
Updated 23 minutes ago · Published on 20 Jun 2018 7:36AM
The United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide, but its pronouncements and reports have often clashed with US priorities. – EPA pic, June 20, 2018.

THE United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday, condemning the "hypocrisy" of its members and its alleged "unrelenting bias" against Israel.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, came to Washington to announce the decision alongside President Donald Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Both insisted the United States would remain a leading champion of human rights but, for many, the decision will reflect Trump's general hostility to the world body and to multilateral diplomacy in general.

The announcement came after the top UN human rights official criticised Washington for separating migrant children from their parents who are seeking asylum after crossing into the country from Mexico.

But Haley and Pompeo stressed the decision had been made after a long year of efforts to shame the council into reform and to remove member states that themselves commit abuses.

"These reforms were needed in order to make the council a serious advocate for human rights," Haley said.

"For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded."

The Geneva-based body was established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide, but its pronouncements and reports have often clashed with US priorities.

In particular, the council's focus on Israeli behaviour towards Palestinians in the territory it occupies on the West Bank and in Gaza has infuriated Washington.

But, as Haley stressed, Washington also believes it comes up short on criticising even flagrant abuses by US opponents like Venezuela and Cuba.

"Countries have colluded with each other to undermine the current method of selecting members," Pompeo said.

"And the council's continued and well-documented bias against Israel is unconscionable," he said.

"Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US move, branding the council "a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organisation that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights."

Haley, who issued a warning a year ago that Washington would make good on its threat to leave the council if reforms were not carried through, used even starker language.

"We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights," she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the US decision, adding: "The UN's human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide."

On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein – a Jordanian – had rebuked Trump over the US practice of splitting up migrant families detained on the Mexican border.

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," he said.

Defending Israel

Independent watchdog Human Rights Watch criticised the move, warning Washington's absence at the council would put the onus on other governments to address the world's most serious rights problems.

"The Trump administration's withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else," executive director Kenneth Roth said.

"The UN Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel."

US criticism stems from the fact that Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at council meetings, one defended in particular by the Arab bloc of countries.

Known as "Item 7", this items means that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians comes under scrutiny at each of three annual sessions.

The United States refused to join the body when it was created in 2006, when George W. Bush was in the White House and his ambassador to the UN was John Bolton – now Trump's UN-sceptic national security adviser.

After Barack Obama came to power, Washington joined the council in 2009.

But when Trump took office, he adopted a hostile approach to world governance, leading Washington to quit the UN cultural agency Unesco, cut UN funding and planning to leave the Paris climate agreement. – AFP, June 20, 2018,
U.S. withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council - U.S. Ambassador Haley

Wednesday, 20 Jun 2018
5:21 AM MYT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday after no other countries "had the courage to join our fight" to reform the "hypocritical and self-serving" body, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

U.N. rights boss says U.S. should be stepping up, not retreating

Wednesday, 20 Jun 2018
6:13 AM MYT

GENEVA (Reuters) - The top United Nations human rights official voiced dismay on Tuesday at a U.S. decision to withdraw from the main rights forum, saying that Washington should step up its engagement given the number of violations worldwide.

Zeid, in his final address to the 47-member forum on Monday, called on the Trump administration to end its "unconscionable" policy of separating children from undocumented migrant parents entering the United States at the border with Mexico.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Johnson says U.S. withdrawal from U.N. Human Rights Council 'regrettable'

Wednesday, 20 Jun 2018
6:39 AM MYT

(Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council was "regrettable" and that the UK's support for the council remained steadfast.

"We've made no secret of the fact that the UK wants to see reform of the Human Rights Council, but we are committed to working to strengthen the Council from within," Johnson said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

President Trump: Seven ways the world has changed
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