Nikki Haley Tells US Congress: The UN Does Matter

Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the United States ambassador to the United Nations, appeared in a confirmation hearing on January 18 lasting more than three hours in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She introduced herself in an address to members that was both autobiographical — the daughter of immigrants — and political. Acknowledging … 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

WORLDVIEWS

From Rice to Power at the United Nations

Samantha Power

President Obama’s choice of Samantha Power to become the next United States ambassador to the United Nations and her recent confirmation by the Senate sends a strong, positive signal to all human-rights defenders. “As one of our country’s leading foreign policy thinkers, Samantha knows that our nation’s interests are advanced with strong and principled American … Read more

America and the West Should Invest More in the UN, Not Less

PAHO antimalaria campaign, Paraguay

Institutions of global governance are weak by design not default. As Singapore’s permanent representative in New York, I encountered senior members of the American establishment who lamented the United Nations’ poor condition. The explanation was the domination by the poor and weak states of Africa and Asia and the poor quality of its bureaucrats. To … Read more

The Lethal Effects of Arms on Women

Stop rape in conflict event Colombia

­ The $100- to $120-billion international arms trade in 2012 intensified the internal conflicts in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo but also brought guns into homes in these countries, where men turned them against women. That was the message that the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom brought to an event … Read more

The Masterminds Behind Security Council Resolutions

Security Council Meeting on the situation in Cyprus

The United Nations Security Council bases its resolutions on agenda items as varied as the renewal of a peacekeeping force mandate in Haiti to responding to a missile launching in North Korea. With resolutions’ language often dense legalese that recalls, recognizes, emphasizes, demands and, at times, condemns and deplores the issue at hand, the style … Read more

BOOKS

Kofi Annan: Lessons in Futility

Kofi Annan

  Kofi Annan‘s existential crisis during his decade as United Nations secretary-general was without question related to the US-led invasion of Iraq. But the most fascinating part of his new memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace,” is the account of his numerous attempts to nudge the world toward a Middle East peace deal. … Read more

Obama to Tell UN That Washington Values Engagement

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, criticized in an intense election campaign for not being tough enough with the rest of the world, is expected to tell fellow leaders next week why his administration thinks that cooperative action, not bluster or the flaunting of power, is a better policy for meeting the crises of this century. The busiest … Read more

BOOKS

The Human Rights Council Gets More Respect

Migrants locked up in a camp in Libya.

The visibility of human-rights violations by the Syrian government amid the current turmoil owes much to the United Nations, particularly to its Independent International Commission of Inquiry, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian lawyer, public official and professor.  Such commissions are part of a growing number of tools used by the UN to promote … Read more

Tough Love Time for the UN

Even though Ban Ki-moon just began his second five-year term this year as United Nations secretary-general, names are already surfacing as to his possible replacement when his term is up. Technically, Ban could be appointed a third term, but no secretary-general so far has held three. Most UN academic experts who were surveyed for a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Unesco-US Relationship: It’s Complicated

Prague's Vlata River.

When it comes to mysteries, the United States’ decision to rejoin Unesco in 2002 under a Republican administration and after nearly two decades’ absence remains puzzling, but it appears the move can be traced to Hollywood. Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has always borne the brunt of criticism from US politicians. Allegations … 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

Romney’s New Adviser Resigns

Romney spokesman

Richard A. Grenell, who was hired just last month as national security and foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign staff, caused a big stir in political and journalism arenas for his harsh views. Now he is causing another stir: he resigned today from the Romney camp, and media reports are suggesting he was … Read more

GOINGS-ON

A Possible Replacement for UN Political Affairs Chief

Feltman

Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs at the US State Department, is said to be replacing B. Lynn Pascoe, the United Nations’ under secretary-general for political affairs, who has served for five years. The announcement has not been made formally by the UN, but it was reported in UN Forum, a … Read more

Romney’s New Adviser Provokes Reactions on Past UN Work

Romney spokesman

The appointment last week of Richard A. Grenell to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign staff as national security and foreign policy spokesman has already caused a stir in political and journalism arenas, suggesting that Romney’s foreign policy will be hawkish with Grenell on board. Grenell, who is 45, joins the Romney camp with a solid Republican … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Proposed US Foreign Aid Shows Slight Increase

UN and guinea-bissau

In his recently released 2013 budget proposal, President Obama has increased funds for foreign aid to the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, but the 1.2 percent rise over 2012 figures is still less than 1 percent of the entire federal budget. The total amount proposed for foreign aid is $51.6 … 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

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