Nina Hachigian writes a very thoughtful essay in The New Republic arguing that the next administration should connect its domestic political agenda to a foreign policy predicated on international institutionalism in a way similar to how Franklin Roosevelt used momentum from the New Deal to build the international architecture of today.
To create political space for these steps, the Obama administration must, as Roosevelt did, connect for the American people its foreign policy goals with its domestic agenda. The administration should begin in four discrete areas–the economy, health care, energy, and terrorism. Americans’ well-being is directly at stake in all of these policy areas, and in each, the administration can leverage the domestic debate to draw the linkages between our welfare at home and architectures abroad.
This is an idea well worth exploring a bit further. Take terrorism for example. On September 28 2001, the Security Council passed resolution 1373, one of its most sweeping resolutions ever. It ordered, under Chapter VII authority, UN member states to enact national legislation to criminalize terrorism and terrorist financing and to cooperate with each other on counter-terrorism issues. The resolution also created the so-called Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC) to monitor the implementation of the resolution. The CTC got off to a rough start–at first it had no budget–but it eventually came to life. In 2006, the General Assembly adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Though notably lacking a definition of terrorism, the Strategy is significant for the fact that it is essentially a global endorsement of Resolution 1373 (which, after all, was only voted on by 15 members of the Security Council).
These are all positive steps toward a global counter-terrorism regime. Still, they are a pittance compared to what is required for sustained international cooperation on counter-terrorism. A more long term solution may be the creation of a separate international structure dedicated exclusively to counter-terrorism.
This is not as far off as it may seem. In an earlier era, with most of civilization living under the threat of nuclear apocalypse, the world banded together to create the International Atomic Energy Agency. Like the IAEA an international counter-terrorism agency would mostly be a technical agency, meaning that its staffers would help countries deal with day-to-day law enforcement work like customs and forensic accounting. It would also, like the IAEA (which monitors compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty) oversee compliance with 1373–which as a Chapter VII resolution carries the force of international law. Finally, to enforce compliance, the new International Counter Terrorism agency could recommend action to the Security Council. This is precisely what the IAEA did when faced with a recalcitrant North Korea and Iran.
This may seem pie-in-the sky for now. But I imagine that so too did the establishment of the IAEA when President Eisenhower gave his famous Atoms for Peace speech to the General Assembly back in 1953. As Hachigian rightly observes, the time is right for this kind of bold policy making.
The graphic designer who lead a team of designers in creating the emblematic United Nations logo died last week. He was 92. From ArtDaily.
Lundquist was born in Westbury, New York, the son of an architect. He grew up in Peekskill, New York and studied architecture at Columbia University. As a senior there in 1937, he was hired to work in the office of well-known architect Raymond Loewy, receiving training from Loewy himself. At the Loewy firm, he worked on the Chrysler pavilion for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, devising a wind tunnel which would show the air flows around Chrysler’s latest car. He also devised a “frozen forest” which would dramatize Chrysler’s latest automotive feature, the air conditioning system. Made up of trees with refrigerant inside, the forest became a popular retreat on hot summer days at the Fair site.
Lundquist was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, which utilized his graphic design talents. Lundquist served in the Office of Strategic Services, where he worked with Alger Hiss and fellow architect Eero Saarinen. Lundquist would prepare visual presentations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as for the Washington press corps.
In 1943, Lundquist won top honors in Art & Architecture’s Post War Living housing competition, for a house which he designed with Saarinen.
After being discharged from the Navy, Lundquist led the team responsible for graphic design for the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in April 1945. The initial design for the badge, initially created by Donald McLaughlin, who worked for Lundquist, was only intended to decorate the delegates’ badges, not as a logo for any organization. The design, as developed by the team, was blue because the color was seen as the opposite of red, the color of war. It was more centered on the United States as host nation of the conference than is today’s United Nations logo, and it excluded southern South America, since Argentina was not expected to join the United Nations (it did so later). The UN kept the idea of an azimuthal north polar projection of the world within olive branches, but rotated the design somewhat, and expanded it so that all major continents could be seen in full.
A few years ago we celebrated Donal McLaughlin’s centennial here on Dispatch. These were two amazing designers whose works are universally recognizable. Lundquist’s professional legacy will certainly live on.
A few months ago hip hop star wil.i.am cut a music video on behalf of the Millennium Development goals called In My Name. At the time, wil.i.am called on people around the world to send him their own videos about global poverty. The best user-submitted were included in this just-released mash-up,
A recent poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org found that people in Muslim countries in many respects have both a higher impression of and greater expectations for the United Nations than one might instinctively assume.
Asked about a number of options for giving the United Nations greater powers, nearly all receive strong support. Publics in all nations polled favor the UN Security Council having its own standing peacekeeping force (on average 64%), having the authority to go into countries to investigate human rights violations (average 63%), and having the right to authorize military force to stop a country from supporting terrorist groups (average 76%), or to prevent severe human rights violations such as genocide (average 77%)…
Publics in five out of the six nations asked favor giving the United Nations the power to regulate the international arms trade (average 59%) and favor the UN Security Council having the right to authorize military force to prevent a country that does not have nuclear weapons from acquiring them (average 63%), to prevent a country that does not have nuclear weapons from producing nuclear fuel (average 57%), and to restore by force a democratic government that has been overthrown (average 57%).
Further, publics in all seven nations asked endorse the controversial view that the UN has a ‘responsibility to protect’ populations from severe human rights violations, “even against the will of their own government” (on average 64%). When Muslim publics are asked “Would you like to see the UN do more, do less or do about the same as it has been doing to promote human rights principles?” majorities in six out of seven publics want the UN to do more (on average 63%).
The one area where populations of Muslim nations remain skeptical, as might be suspected, is in their views of the United States’ relationship with the UN, which they view as one of hegemony, if not outright dominance.
When I saw that the blog of the neo-conservative flagship Commentary linked to this terribly saddening Lydia Polgreen article about a massacre in eastern Congo I fully expected to see a rant against UN peacekeeping. Rather, to his credit, Max Boot makes a reasoned argument and draws the right lessons from this tragedy.
It is all too easy, reading accounts like this, to snort in derision and write off the UN as a hopeless failure. Easy, but not productive. After all, if the UN isn’t trying to keep the peace in Congo, who will do the job? However undermanned and underequipped and inadequate in every way, UN forces are often the only instruments available to stop horrific bloodshed.
I would urge my compatriots on the right to put aside their reflexive-and usually well-justified-antipathy to all things UN and think about how we can improve this organization’s capacity so it can actually be a useful instrument in stemming chaos in ungoverned spaces, something that is very much in the interest of the United States and other civilized nations.
The nub of the problem, it seems to me, is the lack of capacity among UN peacekeepers who are typically contributed by poor nations for no better reason than a cash stipend. This is a deficiency that would not be hard to fix. Imagine if the UN had a standing military force that trained together, made up of veterans of Western militaries and equipped with top-of-the-line hardware. Such ideas were in fact offered forth in the early 1990s after the end of the Cold War, but they died amid the UN’s debacles in Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda. It may be time to revive them.
[T]he report’s recommendations are structured in such a way that they — for the most part — build genocide prevention and response into existing structures rather than proposing yet another set of parallel foreign policy institutions to deal with the challenge. This offers a welcome sophistication about how, if problems are linked together, so must solutions be.
Like I said, I agree, and I have not read the full report yet, but at least one recommendation does seem to envision a new organization that will work in some form alongside the UN and other bodies.
The secretary of state should launch a major diplomatic initiative to create among like-minded governments, international organizations, and NGOs a formal network dedicated to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.
This sounds good in theory, particularly if there in fact “currently exists no coherent framework for U.S. government engagement” with these actors on the issue of genocide prevention. And the report is careful to state that this network should be “[d]esigned to supplement
(not supplant) the work of the United Nations” and other institutions — another encouraging sign that it bears no shadow agenda.
Questions remain, however. Namely, who joins such a network? Is it open to anyone who want to be a member, or are qualifications required? If so, what are these criteria, and who decides? These ambiguities — which resemble the unanswered questions about any sort of “League of Democracies” — point to my primary concern here: what if countries that perpetrate genocide, or are allied with those that do, use this information-sharing network to their Orwellian best, not as a genuince cooperative endeavor to prevent and halt mass atrocities, but as a forum for cultivating deception and delay?
This fear may be misplaced, or overstated; Sudan, after all, is a member of the UN, as are the countries that have made international action to end its genocide so ineffectual. So I’ll have to be optimistic, and hope that creating a new such network will not replicate some of the problems faced by the UN, but rather, plug a few of its holes.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.