Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday sought to reassert America’s waning influence on the world stage, challenging the U.N. Security Council to extend a U.N. arms embargo that is due to expire in October. Instead, America’s top diplomat received a scolding from friends and foes alike in the 15-nation council, which roundly criticized Washington for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal two years ago without a clear plan to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities.
On a day when the European Union pointedly excluded the United States from a “safe list” of countries permitted to travel to the 27-member bloc, the council’s chilly reception of Pompeo added to a portrait of an increasingly isolated United States and underscored how little deference other countries pay the Trump administration as it faces a grim reelection contest. The U.N. debate came amid a sharpening blowback in Washington to revelations that the Trump administration failed to act on months of intelligence warnings that Russia offered Taliban fighters bounties to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China’s claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran. Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, compared U.S. sanctions on Iran to the killing of George Floyd, saying they were akin to “putting a knee to one’s neck.”