On Saturday, Russia and China cast a double veto of a UN Security Council resolution backing an Arab League peace plan for an orderly departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria, and the creation of a transitional government in that country. This was the fourth time since 2007 that the duo has vetoed resolutions criticizing brutal crackdowns in Myanmar (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), and Syria (2011, 2012).
The proposal sought to end eleven bloody months in Syria, which now threatens to spiral into a civil, and potentially regional, conflict. The veto came on the heels of a brutal massacre by the Syrian government in the town of Homs, where reports suggest that scores of people have died—and on the thirtieth anniversary of the Hama massacre in which ten thousand Syrians perished at the hands of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad. FULL POST On Tuesday the United States and Europe sought to pass a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolution to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on protestors, which has killed 2,700 civilians since March, but the measure was struck down by Chinese and Russian vetoes. The double-veto was a return to form for Russia and China. Both have established a longstanding pattern of blocking Security Council action against thuggish governments committing gross human rights abuses against their citizens. The two countries did the same in July 2008, vetoing proposed U.N. sanctions on Zimbabwe, and in January 2007, blocking a resolution demanding that the Burmese junta halt military attacks, end human rights abuses and release political prisoners. By vetoing even a watered down resolution on Syria - in which the word “sanctions” had actually been excised by the sponsors - Moscow and Beijing sent a clear signal that the experience of Libya, where their abstentions had permitted a resolution authorizing coercive action, would not be repeated. FULL POST
By Stewart Patrick - Special to CNN
This Wednesday, world leaders gather in Manhattan for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As always, the most anticipated moment will be when the U.S. President steps to the podium. With little doubt, Barack Obama’s third annual UNGA speech will also be his most challenging.
In September 2009, the president had it easy. After eight years of fractious U.S.-UN relations under George W. Bush, UN member states yearned for a new start. Promising a “new era of engagement,” Obama had his audience at hello. His 2010 speech was also straightforward. It celebrated the fruits of enhanced cooperation on terrorism, financial instability, and other global problems, while imploring the UN to live up to its mandate to promote human rights, global development, and collective security. FULL POST For a case study of misguided Congressional efforts to micromanage U.S. foreign policy, look no further than H.R. 2829. If it became law, The United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011 — introduced this week by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — would destroy U.S. leadership at the United Nations and undermine critical U.S. national interests. It would alienate U.S. allies, encourage other nations to adopt similarly irresponsible policies, and impose heavy costs on U.S. taxpayers. Fortunately, the bill has zero chance of becoming law. FULL POST With the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) preparing to meet Friday for a “thematic debate” on UN Peacekeeping, and NATO calling for a UN force to lead any post-war operation in Libya, it’s time to take stock of the world’s multilateral efforts to field troops in post-conflict zones. The number of “blue helmets” deployed under the UN flag has grown from 20,000 in the year 2000, to 100,000 as of March 2011, with Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India ranking as the top three troop-contributing countries (TCCs). Peacekeepers are currently active in fifteen missions around the globe. FULL POST
With the collapse of Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya, attention has naturally turned to bringing the former strongman to justice.
In late June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant, citing the dictator’s crimes against humanity. Self-styled foreign policy “realists” responded with angst, predicting the specter of prosecution would only prolong the conflict, by eliminating the possibility of a negotiated settlement. FULL POST The area straddling Somalia, Ethiopia and northern Kenya, has been dubbed the “triangle of death
” as the worst drought in more than fifty years grips the area. An estimated thirty percent of children are malnourished, many arriving in refugee camps so “emaciated and with skin lesions so deep that you could see their bones showing in their skulls and arms.” According to testimony by State Department official Reuben Brigety, acute malnutrition has reached 50% and 40%, respectively, in Ethiopia and Kenya—far above the 15% threshold for an international humanitarian emergency.
The causes of this emergency are complex, and the international effort to address the situation is well-intentioned, but the crisis demands a broader and dramatic reaction, which sadly, remains improbable. FULL POST
By Stewart M. Patrick
Today, I would like to draw your attention to a disturbing phenomenon ignored by the foreign policy community but all too common in global conflict zones: The pervasive sexual abuse of men in war.
By Stewart M. Patrick
As the nation celebrates its 235th birthday, I'm taking a break from beer and barbecuing to reflect on American sovereignty.
This is a controversial topic, to say the least. John Bolton, former UN ambassador and potential GOP presidential candidate, warns of “The Coming War on Sovereignty
,” (Commentary), with President Obama in the vanguard. The American Enterprise Institute, Bolton’s institutional home, hosts an impressive website, Global Governance Watch. It’s dedicated to exposing the machinations of rogue international bodies, unaccountable NGOS, and progressive international lawyers - and documenting their alleged assaults on the U.S. Constitution, democracy, and freedom of action.
Exploring the further reaches of cyberspace - where such anxieties become extreme, even paranoid - I’m often reminded of Brigadier General Jack Ripper. He’s the unhinged Air Force officer in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, who detects an “international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.” As director of CFR’s own International Institutions and Global Governance program, I get my share of colorful emails, a few suggesting my work is “treasonous.” Some of these missives are informed by Scripture, at least superficially. My personal favorite: “Beelzebub tried Global Governance at the Tower of Babel and it didn’t work for him. It won’t work for you either.” FULL POST
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