Accuracy in Media

Vox published a piece on the Trump administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it would withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it was a sign of the country shrinking from the world’s stage.

“The move isn’t a complete surprise; the U.S. has been threatening to pull out of the council for some time now, mainly over the issue of Israel,” Vox reporter Alexia Underwood wrote.

“Other countries have expressed misgivings about the council as well, most notably for the continued presence of countries with terrible human rights records as members.

“But the Trump administration’s decision to leave the council is also in keeping with an ongoing trend: The Trump administration has zealously moved away from international agreements and entanglements over the past year and a half, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Iran nuclear deal, and announcing its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, among others.

“Because of this, the U.S. withdrawal from the council will likely be viewed less as a clear criticism of a deeply flawed organization and more as another example of America’s retreat from the world stage under President Trump.”

Not reported is that Trump’s retreat from the world stage includes all but defeating ISIS, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, conducting an historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, resetting Middle East foreign policy so dramatically that the Saudis, the keepers of the two sacred sites of Islam, are now cooperating with the Jewish state, Israel, on a variety of regional matters, including security.

It also has included Trump engaging in tariff battles with countries he says have unfair trade deals with the United States, made progress toward renegotiating the NAFTA agreement and gotten the members of NATO to promise to meet their commitments on dues and percentage of GDP spent on military forces.

Vox reported that the body, formed in 2006, has 47 members, including chronic human rights abusers China, Venezuela, Russia, Congo, Cuba and Egypt, but that this is the first time a country has chosen to leave.

The U.S. always has had a “tumultuous relationship” with the council, according to the piece, and President George W. Bush’s administration boycotted it at one point over its refusal to condemn human rights abusers – its ostensible purpose.

Vox reported that President Obama “decided to rejoin the international body, out of a desire to reform it.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has repeatedly said that the U.S. is considering pulling out over “anti-Israel bias,” even saying that it is “hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela and yet it adopted five biased resolutions, in March, against a single country, Israel.”

But the decision “may actually be linked to an issue a little closer to home. The move to pull out of the council comes one day after Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for human rights, heavily criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policy that forcibly separates families who cross the border into the US illegally.”

This, Vox reported, “may have been the last straw for the Trump administration.”

Or was it? It could’ve been just the president’s refusal to get along with anyone, Vox suggested.

“Over the past year, the Trump administration has signaled that it’s not interested in international cooperation on a variety of issues, by pulling out of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and others.”

Pulling out of this particular body cold be because “administration officials, and the president himself, have downplayed the significance of human rights in their dealings with Egypt, the Philippines, and other countries.”

Pulling out of the anti-Israel Human Rights Council is “a bold move – and could represent an important shift for the US, which has portrayed itself as a strong advocate for international human rights.

“It’s a move that’s sure to have reverberations around the globe and will undoubtedly impact America’s international standing for years to come.”

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