Trump is responding to the broad international backlash against his recognition of Jerusalem with his usual bluster and threats:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favour of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The U.S. isn’t obliged to provide foreign aid. There may be a case for suspending or ending aid to some governments for entirely different reasons. But doing this to punish other states because they are not as lopsidedly “pro-Israel” as the Trump administration is one of the worst reasons imaginable. How many international relationships should be damaged while attempting to intimidate other governments into validating Trump’s bad decision? How are American interests served by subordinating every other consideration to the preferences of fanatics and hard-liners? What possible advantage does it gain the U.S. to burn bridges with scores of other governments in defense of a decision that also puts us in the wrong?
Both Trump and Haley have responded to international opposition to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem with all the composure of spoiled children throwing a tantrum. It was perfectly clear before Trump announced the decision to recognize Jerusalem that almost every other government in the world disagreed with the move, and it was practically inevitable that there would be a backlash from many of those governments. Now that the backlash is already materializing, Trump and Haley have been whining how unfair it is that their unnecessary, harmful provocation is causing them more problems than they would like. If they aren’t willing to reverse the decision, the very least they can do is to choose not to hold U.S. relations with many other countries hostage to it.