Trump vs. Iran: What’s the UN for, Anyway?

President Trump, Vice President Pence and advisors

Donald Trump may have dodged the big one in the Middle East for now. But recent events make clear that the president and his tragic idea of leadership may yet drag the United States into a major war with Iran — and there’s good reason to believe it wouldn’t be pretty. He may still dazzle … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

From a Royal Palace to Ivy Halls: A Dissident’s View of the Arab Spring

Hicham Alaoui was a young prince — only seven years old — in 1971, when he witnessed a devastating military coup unfold against his family inside the Moroccan royal palace. The assailants did not succeed in overturning the 350-year-old monarchy, then under the rule of his uncle, King Hassan II, but Alaoui saw his own … Read more

The Topic Was the UN Charter, but the Backdrop Was a Just-Averted US-Iran War

Six days after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran by the United States and high-wire threats sent between President Trump and top officials of Iran, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council and other nations finally had a chance to speak about the fight in an open forum. As fears … Read more

Look Out, UN, Here Comes More Kentucky

Mitch McConnell, the United States Senate Majority Leader, is known for his obstructionist role as Donald Trump’s enforcer and enabler of domestic policies and executive orders. Lately, the senator from Kentucky has also begun maneuvering in foreign policy and diplomacy, notably involving United Nations appointments. Last year, he lobbied Trump for months to get Kelly … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Top 10 PassBlue Stories of 2019: From Strongmen to Sexual Harassment

Once again, 2019 marked incredible upheaval and change across the world, just as 2018 did so universally, signaled by the continued rise in nationalism and revolts by women against repression and violence in their daily lives. Reporting on how United Nations member states — all 193 of them — acted in 2019 was a challenge … Read more

At the UN, Scrooge Haunts the Holiday Season

Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the UN

In this season of giving, the United States delegation offered free bourbon from Kentucky to the media and is splurging on a holiday party paid for by Kelly Knight Craft, the US ambassador, while in more serious business at the United Nations, the Russians not only held up a vote for one day regarding a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For South Sudan, the Promise of Full Dialogue Lies Ahead

ROME, Italy — The clock is ticking for South Sudan. Many powerful players in the international community have expressed openly their disappointment at the reluctance of South Sudan power-brokers to resolve their violence-prone country. Meanwhile, the people of South Sudan are clearly signaling their readiness for peace and their support for new approaches that could … Read more

Why US Voters Shy Away From Global Topics: New Surveys Emerge

If people beyond North America are puzzled if public-opinion polls in the world’s most powerful country draw blanks from voters when asked about international affairs, two new surveys offer explanations. Schools and the Internet are prime suspects, many voters reveal when they say they don’t know enough to make informed opinions. Such an admission can … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Kelly Knight Craft’s Menu for the UN: Bourbon, Basketball and Bonding

GLASGOW, Kentucky — “There’s no place like home for the holidays” is the United States’ theme for the Security Council presidency in December, while at the same time, in a slight contradiction, the US wants to tackle the problem of the Council’s credibility. To illustrate her point about the Council’s “credibility,” as she said, Kelly … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Russia in Africa and Frank Talk on Feminist Foreign Policies: Our Latest Podcast Episode

African summits may be in vogue worldwide, and Russia’s recent summit in Sochi in late October was no exception. A PassBlue correspondent, Joe Penney, traveled to the Black Sea resort to report on President Vladimir Putin’s pitch to African leaders, as he promoted a second African independence, this time a financial one, with offers of … Read more

Destination Kentucky: An Unusual Choice for Kelly Knight Craft’s Security Council Trip

While most countries use their presidency in the United Nations Security Council to visit war zones and pivotal peacekeeping missions around the globe, the United States ambassador, Kelly Knight Craft, is taking her counterparts to her home state of Kentucky in December. The Security Council will be traveling to what is often called the “Horse … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Big Powers at the UN Are Hanging Western Sahara Out to Dry

A stunning policy reversal by the United States regarding Western Sahara occurred last week, but it didn’t make many headlines. What happened? When the United Nations Security Council adopted a new resolution on Western Sahara, renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission —Minurso — there for another 12 months, the action meant America’s ambitions … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Margot Wallstrom’s Feminist Foreign Policy for Sweden Catches On Globally, She Says

Margot Wallstrom, as Sweden’s newly appointed foreign minister, announced in 2014 that her priority would be the creation of the world’s first feminist foreign policy. The concept left some in her diplomatic corps “gasping for air,” she said. Now, having recently completed a hectic five years in office despite numerous global crises, she is confident … Read more

BOOKS

Why This American Still Cherishes the UN

Americans should know more about the life of William vanden Heuvel, a former United States envoy to the United Nations office in Geneva in the late 1970s. His career of social and political activism has touched on the people of his country on issues ranging from prison reform to school desegregation — but especially on … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Of Oil and Kalashnikovs: At the First Russia-Africa Summit, Putin Makes Power Plays

Vladimir Putin At First Russia Africa Summit in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia — As the Turkish presidential plane carried President Recep Tayyip Erdogan across the Black Sea from Sochi, Russia, back to Ankara last week, dozens of African heads of state arrived in this resort city for the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit the next morning. During two days at a convention center in the Olympic Village … Read more

‘Cowboys’ May Be Running the World Food Program, but Donations Keep Coming

The World Food Program may be receiving millions of more donations from the Trump administration than under past presidencies, but its management is skidding around amid complaints of sexual harassment, retaliation, abuse of authority and, most startling, rape, according to a new external survey. Under the leadership of David Beasley, a former South Carolina governor, … Read more

Guess Who Trump Considered for the UN Job in 2016? A Democrat

Tulsi Gabbard, the United States Democratic representative from Hawaii, met with Donald Trump immediately after his election in November 2016. Gabbard became one of the first people to talk to him and his Republican camp at their base in Trump Tower in New York, and the first of a handful of Democrats to do so. … Read more

Russia, Iran, the US and Visas: The Cold War Heats Up at the UN, a Podcast Explains

While Turkey has carried out its plan to invade northeast Syria and the United Nations Security Council has failed to react in a unified way, Russia and Iran have been making their own moves in the UN headquarters in New York, to achieve a political goal: disrupting crucial General Assembly committees. Welcome back to UN-Scripted, … Read more

The Cold War Returns as Russia and Iran Disrupt UN Work to Protest Visa Denials by the US

Russia and Iran are disrupting the new cycle of United Nations committees’ work to pressure the United States to stop denying visas to their diplomats from attending the meetings in New York. While Russia often brings up visa issues to try to hold up work at the UN, such actions are no déjà vu for … Read more

Hillary Clinton on Trump’s Foreign Policy: It’s All About Waiting for His Next Tweet

Hillary Clinton glided onto a stage in Manhattan with the luxury of now being a cool-eyed outsider who can sharply question foreign policy decisions being made by the Trump administration on such controversial places as China, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Clinton was the keynote speaker at the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s daylong forum … Read more

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