A Tapestry About Chernobyl and the UN’s Bungled Response to the Nuclear Disaster

The third floor of the United Nations headquarters in New York is coveted real estate for member states that have donated art to the organization. Not far from the Security Council Chamber and near the social hangout Express Bar, a giant tapestry hangs on a wall. A quick look reveals angels and demons, lightning bolts … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Russia Is Busy as Security Council President, but Putin Is Staying Home

Russia is president of the United Nations Security Council in September just as nearly 200 heads of state and government and even a prince or two will soon travel to New York City to attend the opening session of the General Assembly. President Vladimir Putin will not be taking part in any event this month … Read more

Strongmen to Kick Off the UN General Assembly Session in September

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil with President Donald Trump

Donald Trump will shake hands with Emmanuel Macron, Jair Bolsonaro and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But will Benjamin Netanyahu; Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel be there, too? The 74th opening debate of the United Nations General Assembly, which lasts a few weeks, starts on Sept.17; the general debate begins on Sept. 24. With most member states … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

It’s Coming Soon: Can the UN Rethink Its Future in One Year?

A year from now, on June 26, 2020, the international community will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. That doesn’t leave much time to hammer out a “concise, substantive, forward-looking and unifying declaration” that captures member states’ commitment to multilateralism and to the UN before the world leaders summit … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The Gains of LGBTQ Rights in Some Mideast-North African Nations May Be a Game-Changer

Progress in recognizing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva may seem detached from the realities faced by LGBTQ people in the Middle East and North Africa, or Mena, region. Activists there, however, are navigating the UN human-rights system as part … Read more

Pulling Back the Curtain on the US Mission to the UN

Vice President Pence at the United Nations Security Council on April 10, 2019

The next United States ambassador to the United Nations, which could be Kelly Knight Craft, will arrive at a US mission to the UN that is far diminished in size and stature than the one her immediate predecessor, Nikki Haley, inherited. In the last month, numerous former staff members and high-level personnel from the US … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Where Will Trump’s Love for Israel Take Us?

President Trump with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, May 2017.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s not really “America First.” It’s “Donald Trump First.” Life would no doubt be safer for the rest of us if his administration based its foreign policy on something larger than one person’s personal fortune(s). But Trump policies have never been famous for their altruism and typically … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Elusive Truth About the Death of Dag Hammarskjold and My Father

My clock radio clicked on. The morning news bulletin announced that United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane was missing. It was Sept. 18, 1961. I was 16. Over the next hours, my mother and sisters and I learned that Mr. Hammarskjöld, accompanied by Dad and 14 others, had flown from Leopoldville, in the Congo, to … Read more

 

GOINGS-ON

Ambassador Kelley Currie Is Leaving the US Mission to the UN

Kelley Currie, an ambassador who represents the United States on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and is the alternate representative of the US to the General Assembly, is leaving her post at the US mission to the UN in New York, she told people at a reception on Jan. 31, 2019. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Gender Parity Goals: The Backlash Begins

One year into the United Nations’ new strategy for gender parity among staff members at all levels, a gendered backlash has emerged, even as parity has been achieved at the highest echelons of the world body. Political will from UN leaders beyond the secretary-general and member states is needed to ensure that where the UN … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Can Germany Mediate the Big-Power Divide in the UN Security Council?

BERLIN — At the start of Germany’s sixth two-year term in the United Nations Security Council, the media attention in Germany is unusually high: numerous journalists on TV and radio are asking diplomats, politicians and foreign policy experts about their views on Germany’s role in the Council, as well as its goals and prospects for … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Dominican Republic’s Priority in the UN Security Council: Climate Change

Although the Dominican Republic has been a member of the United Nations since 1945, the country is making its debut on the Security Council this month — starting big, as the president in the rotating seat. It is the country’s first strike out of two presidencies as an elected member with a two-year term, representing … Read more

 

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

‘Welcome to Turtle Bay’: Nikki Haley’s (Imagined) Letter to Heather Nauert

Dear Heather, I was moved to learn of that sweet letter that George H.W. Bush left for Bill Clinton in an Oval Office desk drawer as he left the White House in January 1993. Poppy wished him “great happiness” in the new job and advised him not to “let the critics discourage you or push … Read more

UN Migrant Compact, Shunned by Trump, Is Likely to Win World’s Support

As images circulate worldwide of American tear gas enveloping would-be asylum seekers on its Mexican border and of terrified faces of children being snatched from their parents by United States patrols, a United Nations-sponsored pact on orderly migration is expected to win near-universal approval and even gain support at a global conference in December. The … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

With UN Security Council Reform, Bigger Is Not Better

Much ado — during 25 years of fruitless negotiations — has been made about the need for the United Nations General Assembly to achieve more equitable geographical representation in the UN Security Council. Article 23(1) of the UN Charter, however, also requires the Assembly, in electing the nonpermanent members of the Council, to pay due … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Four Easy Steps to Reform the UN Human Rights Council

Problems encircling the United Nations Human Rights Council are verging toward a major crisis. The same crisis had engulfed its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, leading the secretary-general at the time, Kofi Annan, to call to replace it with the Council. But the same problems affecting the former Commission now affect its successor, and … Read more

 

UNGA72

Myanmar, North Korea, Gender Parity: Guterres Highlights the Topics of the UN Debate

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general

António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, said the top two problems he would highlight the most at the opening session of the General Assembly next week were Myanmar’s rapidly unfolding humanitarian disaster and North Korea’s nuclear-weapons provocations. “The humanitarian situation is catastrophic,” Guterres said at a media briefing on Sept. 13 at UN … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Trump to Force UN Reform Agenda at General Assembly Session in September

The United States is planning to hold a high-level meeting on United Nations reform during the opening days of the 72nd General Assembly debate. The Sept. 18 meeting is to be chaired by Donald Trump and held a day before he is scheduled to address the UN for the first time as America’s president in the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

At the UN, a New Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Is Adopted by 122 Nations

Nuclear buildup and threat of nuclear war became a front-page item this past week, after Kim Jong Un’s declaration of a successful intercontinental ballistic missile test, confirmed on July 4 by United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Such headlines — proclaimed on America’s Independence Day — remind the public of the ever-present specter of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Three Main Bodies Are Failing to Do Their Job

  “Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it.” So spoke United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the 59th session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2004. Annan’s statement should be understood to apply to the principal organs of the … Read more

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