Ambassador Thomas Pickering is a legendary retired US foreign service officer. He had a four decade career in diplomacy, including stints as United States ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, and El Salvador, among other key postings.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed him United States Ambassador to the United Nations where he played a critical role in marshaling broad international support against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

The diplomacy that accompanied the international effort to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the early 1990s is considered to be a high water mark for US multilateral engagement.This is why I was curious to learn from Ambassador Pickering about what opportunities may exist for the incoming Biden administration to re-establish US global leadership and multilateral engagement?

We kick off discussing the Trump administration’s approach to multilateralism before having a broader conversation about the changing nature of the UN and ways the Biden administration can productively work with with allies and adversaries to advance American interests and the global good.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn from one of America’s most decorated diplomats, have a listen.


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Today’s episode is produced in partnership with the Better World Campaign as part of a series  examining the opportunities for strengthening multilateral engagement by the new Biden-Harris administration and the incoming 117th Congress. To learn more and access additional episodes in this series, please visit


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