Divided World, United Nations? The Role of the U.S. Within the U.N.

Date: 
Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: 
Salomon 101
Speakers: 
John Bolton and Richard Holbrooke

Pro: John Bolton

Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

 Argument: Bolton has been a strong critic of the United Nations for much of his career. Bolton advocates "a revolution of reform" at the UN. Specifically, he called for:

•The five permanent members of the UN Security Council to work more closely to craft powerful resolutions and make sure they are enforced, and to address the underlying causes of conflicts, rather than turning them over to the Secretariat and special envoys;

•A focus on administrative skills in choosing the next secretary-general; and

•A more credible and responsible Human Rights Council.

Bolton warned that the U.S. had the option of relying on regional or other international organizations to advance its goals if the U.N. proves inadequate

Con: Richard Holbrooke

Member of Council on Foreign Relations, professor at-large at the Watson Institute

Argument: Despite the enormously self-destructive actions of many other member states, especially the group of developing nations called the G-77, the United Nations still serves U.S. foreign policy interests in many important ways. Not only Iraq but also Iran, Darfur, Afghanistan and the difficult negotiations just started over Kosovo's final status -- all issues of vital importance to the United States -- have now ended up in the United Nations. To weaken this institution further, as has happened in recent years, serves no clear American national security interest. To strengthen it would make it more valuable to the United States and to every nation that seeks conflict resolution, stability and economic progress. With the maneuvering over the selection of Annan's successor underway, it is time for Washington -- and this must include Congress -- to put behind it a sorry period of confusion and offer the United Nations more support, both financial and political, in return for the things it needs in Iraq and elsewhere.

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Janus Lecture on United Nations, John Bolton, Richard Holbrooke
John Bolton, John Tomasi, Jesse Maddox, Richard Holbrooke

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