Hillary Clinton delivered a sweeping speech on American global leadership earlier today at the Council on Foreign Relations. There is a lot of love for the UN in there. The following excerpt appeared under the sub-heading: “Global Institutions for the 21st Century.”
Effective institutions are just as crucial at a global level, where the challenges are even more complex and the partners even more diverse.
So our fifth step has been to reengage with global institutions and begin modernizing them to meet the evolving challenges of the 21st century. We need institutions that are flexible, inclusive, and complementary, instead of competing with one another for jurisdiction. Institutions that encourage nations to play productive roles, that marshal common efforts, and enforce the system of rights and responsibilities that binds us all.
The United Nations remains the single most important global institution and we are constantly reminded of its value: The Security Council enacting sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Peacekeepers patrolling the streets of Monrovia and Port-au-Prince. Aid workers assisting flood victims in Pakistan and displaced people in Darfur. And, most recently, the UN General Assembly establishing a new entity –UN Women–which will promote gender equality, expand opportunity for women and girls, and tackle the violence and discrimination they face.
But we are also constantly reminded of its limitations. It is difficult for the UN’s 192 Member States, with their diverse perspectives and interests, to achieve consensus on institutional reform, especially reforming the Security Council itself. The United States believes that the Council must be able to react to and reflect today’s world. We favor Security Council reform that enhances the UN’s overall performance, effectiveness and efficiency to meet the challenges of the new century. We equally and strongly support operational reforms that enable UN field missions to deploy more rapidly, with adequate numbers of well-equipped and well-trained troops and police they often lack, and with the quality of leadership and civilian expertise they require. And we will continue to embrace and advocate management reforms that lead to efficiencies and savings and that prevent waste, fraud and abuse.
Read the whole thing. It is encouraging to see the Secretary of State talk about Security Council reform, which is something that is pretty much stalled at this point (much to the frustration of emerging powers.) Perhaps this speech means some of the State Department is ready for a new push? I know some at the top echelons of State have been on the case for some time. Let’s see if this gains traction at all.