FROM Evelyn Leopold
President Obama Goes Back to the UN In his second annual address to the UN General Assembly today, President Obama emphasized peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He acknowledged widespread pessimism about the process but said, if the “teachings of tolerance” of three great religions were observed, there could be a positive outcome.
President Obama Goes Back to the UN Last year, in his first speech to the UN General Assembly, President Obama promised a new era of American engagement with the rest of the world. Today, he emphasized peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Acknowledging widespread pessimism about the process, he encouraged drawing upon the "teachings of tolerance" of three great religions to realize a positive outcome. Though the President defended his record on Iran's nuclear program and healing the global economy, he had little to say about North Korea, Iraq's political instability or the shaky state of his counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. We hear excerpts from his address , different opinions on its strengths and weaknesses and what else is going on in the halls of the United Nations.
Security Council Passes New Round of Sanctions against Iran The UN Security Council today passed its fourth resolution against Iran’s nuclear development program as demanded by the United States. President Obama said the sanctions are the most comprehensive Iran has ever faced. The vote was 12 to two with Brazil and Turkey voting no, Lebanon abstaining and both China and Russia voting with the majority. Veteran UN reporter Evelyn Leopold now writes for the Huffington Post .
Iran's Nuclear Development and the Prospects for War The US wants a new resolution from the UN Security Council to increase sanctions against Iran for its continued enrichment of nuclear fuel. In Washington today, officials from France, the UK, Russia, China and Germany are meeting with Nicholas Burns, a top State Department aide. President Bush has threatened "financial isolation and/or economic sanctions" if diplomacy doesn't work. But he's also said that, "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere" and, "we will confront this danger before it's too late." We look at the pros, cons and possibilities of military action—by choice or by accident.
The Search for Solutions in Darfur In Sudan's Darfur province, a reported 450,000 people have been killed in the past four years and two million are now homeless refugees. Last week, saying that "the brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable," President Bush announced a package of sanctions against the Sudanese government, led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Then he pulled back--at the request of the new Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, who asked for more time for diplomacy. Meantime, Darfur's humanitarian crisis continues. The US has used the term "genocide," but others contend that ignores the root causes of a conflict that goes beyond ethnicity and culture. Are more peacekeepers needed? Is there any real peace to keep? What does climate change have to do with it?
Diplomacy and Confrontation for Iran The world saw two sides of President Bush today as he talked of both peace and possible confrontation. In his speech to the General Assembly , he reassured Muslims that America is not at war with Islam and that it's looking for peace with Iran. Although President Bush said nothing about economic sanctions--let alone the "military option"--if Iran continues to develop nuclear technology, on the sidelines he affirmed that the consequences of continued nuclear development could include such sanctions. Bush also said he won't meet with President Ahmadinejad, who did not show up in the chamber for the President Bush's speech. What are the prospects for diplomacy?
After Southern Lebanon, What about the Palestinians? UN Security Council Resolution 1701 stopped the fighting in southern Lebanon with the promise that France would help enforce it by leading a 15,000 member peacekeeping source. Today, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that France is scaling back to a "symbolic" contingent of 10 officers and 200 engineers. Meantime, as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority talk about forming a "unity government, there's a threat to dissolve all civil institutions and demand that Israel keep order in the West Bank and Gaza. Has the success of Hezbollah emboldened militants or will it lead to diplomacy in the region's oldest conflict? What about Israel's plan to pull out of the West Bank? We get an update from the UN and the Palestinian territories, where events have been out of the limelight because of the fighting in Lebanon.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?