UN vote deals Trudeau embarrassing defeat on world stage

It was not even close as Norway and Ireland beat out Canada for nonpermanent seats at the Security Council table.

UN vote deals Trudeau embarrassing defeat on world stage

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bid to get Canada back on the United Nations Security Council was dashed Wednesday, dealing the staunch defender of global institutions a decisive and embarrassing loss.

India, Mexico, Norway and Ireland won temporary seats on the United Nations Security Council — the organization’s most powerful forum — for 2021-2022. The Security Council election, which takes place in regional brackets, saw Canada suffer its second loss in as many attempts, beaten in the first round of voting by much smaller Norway and Ireland.

Canada will now likely have to wait until the 2030s to win a seat at the Security Council table — a three-decade absence. Of the Security Council’s 15 members, five are permanent — belonging to China, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France — while 10 seats rotate every two years based on elections like that conducted Wednesday.

Despite being a founding U.N. member and part of the G-7 and G-20, Canada’s size and history once again counted for little: the government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was defeated by Portugal in 2010, even as the former colonial power was in the midst of the humiliating EU bailout.

Canada had touted its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations; the Francophonie, an international organization of French-speaking countries; and the Organization of American States, as well as its status as an Arctic nation. Canada’s diversity meant it could be a voice for many at the U.N., the country’s ambassador to the U.N., Marc-André Blanchard, told POLITICO on Monday.

Canada’s relatively late entry into the race — as well as stumbles like Trudeau’s brownface scandal — hurt Canada’s ability to stand apart and make its case.

Each country had two votes in each regional category. Out of 192 votes in the “Western Europe and Other” category, Norway received 130, Ireland 128 and Canada 108.

In other regions, India (184 votes) and Mexico (187 votes) easily won their contests, while Kenya and Djibouti will head to a run-off vote for the African seat on Thursday, after neither country obtained the necessary two-thirds majority.

United Nations ambassadors voted in isolation and wearing masks — in individual time slots throughout the week — at U.N. headquarters in New York.

The result marks the end of years of campaigning, and deals symbolic damage to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s internationalist image.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blasted Trudeau’s stewardship of the campaign this week, accusing him of courting human rights abusers for votes and tarnishing Canada’s image in pursuit of a “personal vanity” project.

“The prime minister can’t bring himself to criticize dictators and despots around the world who abuse human rights,” the official opposition leader said Wednesday.

Trudeau had deflected criticism of the bid from Conservatives by nodding to Canada’s 2010 loss under Harper, whose foreign policy he said was an “embarrassment” to Canadians.

Speaking prior to the vote, the Liberal leader sought to downplay its significance: “A seat on the U.N. Security Council is not an end to itself. It’s a means to an end,” he said, adding that Canada would continue to be a voice for others on the international stage, not just itself, regardless of the result.

Richard Gowan, U.N. Director of the International Crisis Group, said U.N. diplomats broadly agree Canada’s team “campaigned well.”

With Norway, Ireland and Canada all taking similar approaches to such core global issues as climate change, multilateralism and peacekeeping, Canada’s relatively late entry into the race — as well as stumbles like — hurt Canada’s ability to stand apart and make its case.

While Ireland and Norway declared their candidacies in 2005 and 2007, respectively, Canada jumped into the race in 2016: already too late to win India’s vote, which had committed its votes to Ireland and Norway in a vote-swap arrangement, .

The Canadian government shelled out roughly $1.7 million and employed 13 full-time campaign staff, compared to Norway’s $2.8 million budget and Ireland on $1 million. Ireland splurged on for diplomats, and Canada on Céline Dion tickets, BBC reported, in addition to giveaways such as greeting cards, chocolates and Canada-branded facemasks.

Trudeau spent much of his first mandate focused on managing tense free trade negotiations with the U.S. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Norway went for a low-key platform backed by a big development budget. Norway is the world’s most generous aid donor on a per capita basis. With a population of just five million people, Norway earlier this year pledged $1 billion in assistance to the global coronavirus response, and donates close to 1 percent gross national income in development aid, compared to Canada at around 0.3 percent. Ireland has 474 peacekeepers deployed on U.N. missions compared to Canada’s 35.

Trudeau spent much of his first mandate after President Donald Trump won in 2016 and demanded a NAFTA rewrite. He delegated his top diplomat, then-Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, with managing the talks along with Canada-U.S. relations. The updated deal will enter into force July 1, though it wasn’t in a position to be ratified until late 2019.

Trudeau also faced a tight reelection campaign last fall, which saw his government reduced to a minority in the House of Commons.

With the election behind him, the prime minister packed his 2020 travel schedule with visits to Africa and the Caribbean, the latter of which was later canceled due to domestic protests snarling rail traffic. The pandemic put a stop to Trudeau’s in-person stump for votes in the U.N. race, so he turned his focus to virtual global gatherings where he could tout Canada’s commitment to “inclusive” multilateralism and steer discussions on such issues as global Covid-19 vaccine research and funding development after the pandemic eases.

In a separate election Wednesday, Turkey’s Volkan Boz kir was elected U.N. General Assembly President with 178 votes out of a possible 192 votes.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Trump asked China for help getting reelected, Bolton book claims

The memoir by the former national security adviser is a scathing indictment of the president.

Trump asked China for help getting reelected, Bolton book claims

U.S. President Donald Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for domestic political help to boost his electoral prospects in the midst of the two leaders’ trade war last summer, according to the bombshell account of former national security adviser John Bolton in his forthcoming memoir.

According to an of the memoir, published in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Bolton alleges that Trump made the plea to help his standing with American farmers during a summit with Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 in Japan, a month after negotiations for a trade deal had stalled.

Xi, according to Bolton, complained to the president of unnamed American politicians who Xi said were wrong to call for a new cold war with China, a slight Trump took to be directed toward Democrats who he agreed were too hostile toward Beijing.

“Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton wrote. The president “stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.”

“I would print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,” he added.

Bolton’s accusations about China draw a striking parallel to the events that landed Trump in an impeachment trial earlier this year.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who was in the meeting, denied the episode ever took place when asked multiple times about Bolton’s allegation during a Senate hearing.

But the potentially explosive revelation comes amid a monthslong back-and-forth between Bolton and the White House over the contents of the book. The to prevent the 592-page tome from being published.

And it comes as Republicans seek to portray Trump’s presumptive 2020 rival, former vice president Joe Biden, as too soft on China. The two campaigns have traded accusations in dueling campaign ads, fueled by the public debate over how much blame to place on Beijing for the death and economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

The administration has claimed that Bolton’s memoir, which was set to be released next week, contains classified information and could represent a threat to national security. Bolton and his attorney deny that charge, saying that the book went through an arduous pre-publication review with the White House.

Bolton’s accusations about China draw a striking parallel to the events that landed Trump in an impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump was accused of freezing military aid to Ukraine as a means of pressuring the government to conduct potentially politically beneficial investigations involving Trump’s potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and was later acquitted of both articles against him.

According to Bolton, who lays out a damning portrait of a commander in chief eager to appease authoritarian leaders, “Trump’s conversations with Xi reflected not only the incoherence in his trade policy but also the confluence in Trump’s mind of his own political interests and U.S. national interests.”

Furthermore, Bolton claims, “Trump commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security. I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations.”

The president’s actions, he later adds, “formed a pattern of fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency.”

The White House has already begun to mobilize against what are expected to be further bombshell revelations contained in Bolton’s book, with the president and his allies already beginning to question Bolton’s trustworthiness and his motivations while pointing out that the former national security adviser declined to voluntarily testify in Trump’s impeachment trial even as he criticized congressional Democrats’ impeachment approach.

Asked about the book on Wednesday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters “the book is full of classified information, which is inexcusable.”

Bolton’s accusations also threaten to explode a major Trump narrative about Biden, whose statements about China have featured in campaign ads widely amplified by the president’s allies.

In other anecdotes, Bolton writes of Trump’s willingness to overlook Chinese human rights issues | Alex Wong/Getty Images

But despite Trump’s claims that “Nobody … has been WEAKER on China” than Biden and accusation that “He gave them EVERYTHING they wanted, including rip-off Trade Deals,” Bolton portrays Trump in a similar light, writing that Lighthizer feared what the president would give away to China in one-on-one trade talks.

Bolton, a China hawk, claims that Trump repeatedly sought to appease Xi, at one point calling Xi “the greatest leader in Chinese history” after he agreed to resume trade talks that included U.S. agricultural purposes.

In other anecdotes, Bolton writes of Trump’s willingness to overlook Chinese human rights issues, suggesting that Trump wanted to avoid angering Xi and at one point arguing that “we have human-rights problems too.”

Last summer when unrest was mounting in Hong Kong over an attempt by Beijing to crack down on the semi-autonomous territory, Trump acknowledged “that’s a big deal” but added “I don’t want to get involved,” according to Bolton.

And when resisting putting out a White House statement on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the president misstated the timing of the event while responding: “Who cares about it? I’m trying to make a deal. I don’t want anything.”

Democrats reacted with fury to the revelations detailed in Bolton’s excerpt and in news accounts.

Bolton also writes that Trump questioned why the U.S. was mulling sanctions on China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims, a minority ethnic group in parts of northwest China who Beijing has been accused of placing in modern day concentration camps.

At the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Bolton claims that during a meeting between Trump and Xi with only interpreters present, according to the U.S. interpreter, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”

Within hours of the excerpt of Bolton’s book publishing, the White House announced that Trump had signed into law legislation condemning treatment of the Uighurs and calling for the United States to sanction Chinese officials and entities over their detention and torture.

Democrats reacted with fury to the revelations detailed in Bolton’s excerpt and in news accounts. California Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment inquiry, tweeted, “Bolton’s staff were asked to testify before the House to Trump’s abuses, and did. They had a lot to lose and showed real courage. When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he’d sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book. Bolton may be an author, but he’s no patriot.”

And New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, used the occasion to swipe at his colleagues across the aisle, who declined to subpoena Bolton’s testimony during the president’s impeachment trial. “The revelations in Bolton’s book make Senate Republicans’ craven actions on impeachment look even worse—and history will judge them for it,” he tweeted.

Doug Palmer contributed to this report.

Source : Politico EU More   

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