WORLDVIEWS

Russia’s Motives Behind the Syrian Conflict

Syrian refugees in Turkey

CANBERRA — China and Russia have cast three vetoes on draft United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at tougher international responses to the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on protestors and rebels in the last 16 months. China and Russia have drawn much flak for their resistance to UN efforts to end the mass killings in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Sobering Conflict in an Unforgiving Desert

Interim president Dioncounda Traore of Mali

BAMAKO, Mali — At the bus station here in the capital this spring, tales of trepidation from besieged northern towns like Gao and Timbuktu, where Tuareg and Islamist rebels took power after a coup d’état in late March, were commonplace. “There’s no life there because there is no law,” one man said after arriving from … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Walk Between War and Peace for the UN Nuclear Agency

Yukiya Amano, the chief of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency. He is said to be closely allied with the United States and others in the West.

As international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the boundaries between peaceful uses and weaponization intensify, the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, and its chief, Yukiya Amano, also grow more important. The agency has no choice but to balance all considerations carefully in the delicate tightrope. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Regional Groupings Need to Reshuffle the Deck

Brisbane UN Women

  CANBERRA — Come October, Australia will be competing with Finland and Luxembourg for two of the elected two-year seats open on the United Nations Security Council, starting next year. Why against Finland and Luxembourg and not others also contesting for the five seats up for grabs? Well might you ask. Most public debate on … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The Missing Russian Deliveryman

Bashar Jaafari

Kofi Annan was too diplomatic to say it in public, but his meaning as he “briefed” the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday on the continuing strife in Syria was unmistakable: Russia has failed. Annan’s plan to halt the fighting that has convulsed Syria for 15 months was crafted to Moscow’s specifications. It made no … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For Syria, a Way Out That Still Involves the UN

Kofi Annan

CANBERRA — Syria is tearing itself apart. The minority Allawite-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad remains determined to crush the opposition, which despises the regime so much it will not bow out. The Kofi Annan peace plan has seemingly failed, and the international community, or more specifically the United Nations Security Council, has found itself in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The US-UN Dance Recovers Its Balance

Susan Rice

CANBERRA — The United Nations is located at the cross-section of Interdependence Avenue and Multilateral Cooperation Street in Manhattan. But its destiny lies at the intersection of Indifference Avenue and Hostility Street in Washington. That was the case, at least, under the George W. Bush administration through the mode of John Bolton, the United States … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

General Assembly President: A Hardly Noticed, Yet Crucial Job

Jean Ping of Gabon

BERLIN — This United Nations top official is unknown to the broad public, yet he or she provides an important function: the president of the General Assembly. Most presidents have carried out the job inconspicuously and routinely, but a few presidents, the present one included, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, have revealed stamina and political … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

Horn of Africa: Recoveries Fail and Fail Again

Horn of Africa famine

WASHINGTON — News on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa continues to flare in the media ever since famine struck last summer and lasted through the fall. Although the famine was declared resolved by the United Nations this winter, relieved by good harvests and a flood of food aid, a crisis could reoccur. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

German UN Association Turns 60

German ambassador to the UN

BERLIN — Germany’s history as a member of the United Nations was complicated from the start. Its first step as a member began in 1973 with two German nations, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic (which was the Communist state). Their induction as separate countries under two different names happened only after … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Rockefeller Got It Right on US Population Growth

US population growth

With three major international United Nations conferences being planned or proposed to update the 1992 Rio earth summit, the 1994 Cairo population conference and the 1995 Beijing global meeting on women’s rights, the topic of population growth and its effect on the environment, human development and nations’ progress needs serious discussion. That should start in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Ban’s Second Term: It’s Time to Involve UN Diplomats

un secretary general

BERLIN — Like his predecessors, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started his second term, in January, by presenting a program to the General Assembly and to the public, adorned with a momentous title: The Five Year Action Agenda, “The Future We Want.” It outlines in ambitious rhetoric the key areas where Ban thinks the … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Revisits Syria, With Sharp Words and Passion

Syria and the UN

Iran was the one country to stand up in support of Syria’s procedural challenge to the right of the UN General Assembly to debate the spiraling political violence back home, and with good reason: the aggressiveness with which the Arab states along the Persian Gulf are pressing for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad from … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For Syria, Only More Questions

The failed vote in the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 4 over a resolution committing the UN to the Arab League’s Syria transition plan opens the door to an international free-for-all in which Syrian factions enlist foreign patrons, Russia mortgages itself to a terminally ill regime and Iran has an opening to forge closer … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

George Kennan’s Ambivalence Toward the UN

WASHINGTON — As one of the great strategic thinkers, historians and essayists of the cold war era and the author of the doctrine of containment, which informed American foreign policy for most of that period, George F. Kennan had a realist view of the United Nations, driven by national interest. The wide attention and praise … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In Washington, the Human Rights Council Endures Scrutiny

WASHINGTON — The United Nations Human Rights Council is attracting more attention here by both supporters and critics in the government and beyond. Some of the council’s defenders and naysayers, speaking at various Washington venues last month, ultimately expressed the same goal: to see the rights body improve. The council’s action last winter recommending that … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

Sticking With a Story After the Media Forget

Do you want know what happens to news reports in parts of the world after they seemingly drop from the front page? Do you get frustrated by constant coverage of certain stories at the expense of others? Do you think that the US media and the US foreign policy establishment should pay some attention to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

New Members, New Chances? Security Council Elections

BERLIN — This month, the United Nations General Assembly elected Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo as nonpermanent members of the Security Council for the next two years. Three of the new members, Guatemala, Morocco and Pakistan, were elected in the first round of voting, Togo was in the third and Azerbaijan, in the seventeenth. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Saving the Troubled Khmer Rouge Tribunal

[This essay was updated on Nov. 23, 2011] The United Nations sent its top legal official to Cambodia this week in a belated effort to deal directly with the threatened implosion of a war crimes tribunal charged with bringing to trial leaders of the apocalyptic Communist regime that presided over the deaths of at least … Read more

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