UNGA72

Trump Blows Up the UN, Metaphorically Speaking

Can a rebuttal happen before an event occurs? United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres took pre-emptive strikes against President Donald Trump in his speech at the opening session of the 72nd General Assembly, on Sept. 19, 2017. Rumors were rampant that Trump would deliver a strongly nationalistic speech, reportedly written by Stephen Miller, author of Trump’s … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

North Korea and the UN: Agony and Ecstasy

If you are reading this, it must mean we have not been annihilated by a nuclear war between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Not that Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, will be able to take much credit — not because she didn’t try but because she … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

UN’s South Sudan Experts Criticized for Weapons Claims Amid Larger Problems

A hard-hitting report published in April 2017 by the United Nations Security Council sanctions panel monitoring South Sudan was potentially marred by weakly sourced allegations about arms sales from Egypt and elsewhere, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat and two former UN sanctions experts. The perceived flaws in the South Sudan panel’s work are “a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Despite the Terrorist Attack on Our Beloved Malian Resort, We Will Come Back

It always took me ages to hit the road to the Kangaba camp. Leaving downtown Bamako can be tricky, especially if your place is baco fé — on the far bank of the Niger River — as they say in Bambara, the local language. The traffic is a nightmare. On weekends, dozens of old yellow Mercedes … Read more

GOINGS-ON

The UN Formalizes Its Partnership With Sant’Egidio, the Rome-Based Mediator

The United Nations has formalized its relationship with the Community of Sant’Egidio, the highly regarded Catholic membership organization based in Rome that has been focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, primarily in Africa, for 30 years. A community of 60,000 laypeople founded in 1968, Sant’Egidio has been working with the UN on mediation prospects in … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Debate on Trump’s Budget Ignores Serious Global Cuts

When the White House sent its proposed 2018 budget to the United States Congress on May 23, it was apparent that not only would a hawkish, nationalistic focus on military expenditures come at the cost of international aid and support for the United Nations. Worse, the Trump plan would also sideline discussions on global issues, … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

What Defines a Fragile State? It Depends

It will come as no surprise to regular consumers of news that in the new Fragile States Index, published on May 15, South Sudan is at the top of the ranks of endangered countries and tranquil Finland is the most stable of all nations. But the grading and analysis of 178 nations compiled by the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

UN Is Examining Its Security Policies After Murders in Congo

A board of inquiry looking into major gaps or flaws in United Nations security policies that might have contributed to the murders of two UN experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was set up May 1, according to documents not released to the public yet. The board is to travel to the Congo … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Is Global Cooperation Over? Midwesterners Assess the Trends

We stand on the shoulders of those who created the international order, which has prevented world war for more than 70 years. “American leaders who laid foundations of the contemporary world order envisioned a world in which all peoples might pursue shared peace, prosperity and dignity. They hoped to forge a global community under the … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Rape by Terrorists: A UN Report Documents Sexual Attacks in War

Moving away from strictly categorizing rape and other sexual abuse against women as a weapon of war, a new report from the United Nations addresses the increasing use of rape as a weapon of terrorism. The report also documents how mass migration has led to further sexual violence against women through human trafficking by extremist … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Nikki Haley’s ‘Historic’ Debate on Human Rights Left a Small Impression

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, presided over what she was determined to sell as “an historic meeting exclusively on human rights” in the UN Security Council. But her brief speech in the April 18 meeting fell far short of introducing innovations to confront violations of human rights or prevent them … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Demand for Lower Peacekeeping Dues to Pit the US Against the UN

The Trump administration, buoyed by a powerful anti-internationalist movement among conservative Republicans in the United States Congress, is headed for a new confrontation with the United Nations over who decides how much the US should pay for peacekeeping. With a tentative US budget deadline of April 28 fast approaching, it is almost certain that American … Read more

In South Sudan Camps, Radio Is a Powerful Tool

Jess Engrebretson is a different kind of humanitarian-aid worker. As an American journalist and Thomas J. Watson Fellow, she has worked with local radio projects in Indonesia, Rwanda and Liberia on post-conflict resolution and human-rights reporting. From 2014 to 2015, Engrebretson helped develop radio infrastructure in a camp for displaced people near Malakal, South Sudan. … Read more

How’s He Doing? António Guterres’s First Month as UN Secretary-General

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general

Thirty-two days in office as United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres spoke extensively to the media for the first time at UN headquarters, on Feb. 1. Indicative of the chaos gripping many parts of the world as a result of new White House actions, Guterres might be forgiven for waiting a month to address the media … Read more

António Guterres, Sounding Priestlike, Arrives for Work as UN Secretary-General

He is no longer the “next SG,” as Twitter posts have been referring in the last few months to António Guterres, the man who was selected by the United Nations Security Council in October to lead the world body as the ninth secretary-general. Guterres, a 67-year-old former prime minister of Portugal who also managed the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Syrian War and the Refugee Crisis: Spawning the Rise of the Far Right

The butterfly effect teaches us that seemingly insignificant actions can have enormous future consequences. A tiny pair of fluttering wings can disturb the air in a way that helps trigger a hurricane halfway around the world. Witness Syria, where the Arab Spring made its debut in 2011 in the form of a tame wave of … Read more

Note to Trump: US and Chinese Publics Want Their Nations to Be Active in World Affairs

Barely a day before Donald Trump set off a recent diplomatic crisis between China and the United States by backing Taiwan in a chatty phone call with the island’s president, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs published poll results from the US and China that found a surprising correlation between public attitudes in the two … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Message to Trump: The US Needs the UN and Vice Versa

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Strong American leadership at the United Nations would greatly enhance President-elect Trump’s foreign policy agenda. United States investment in the UN is an effective use of taxpayer dollars to serve the US military, diplomatic, economic and national security interests. UN peacekeepers, for example, cost one-eighth the expenses of US boots on the … Read more

BOOKS

The Rules of War Need a Major Overhaul

Donetsk People's Republic fighters in Ukraine

Evidence is piling up: the global security framework that emerged from the ashes of World War II is no longer capable of pursuing international peace. The arrangement, conceived by the major powers that won the war, has expanded into a grab bag of rules and institutions that the crises of our own era have gradually … Read more

Cloaked in Secrecy: How the Saudis’ $110 Million Gift to UN Counterterrorism Is Being Spent

The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center was set up in 2011 with money from Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism worldwide. Some experts, however, now question the center’s ability to eliminate terrorist threats. There are also questions about whether the money that the Saudis donated, a whopping $110 million, is being spent effectively. The Saudi donation is … Read more

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