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Day two at the Humphrey Institute’s symposium has begun. Bright and early, we’re discussing the “Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next Administration” with Edward Alden, Kim Holmes, Michael Levi, Benn Steil, and Richard Haas.

Holmes (from Heritage) is taking unfair (and untrue) shots at the UN, saying that it has depreciated value for the U.S. because of our limited influence there. I think it’s pretty clear that the U.S. has tremendous influence at the UN (even beyond the fact that they hold one of five veto spots in the Security Council). If the U.S. is not getting the results it needs, it’s because its representatives are not engaging enough. That includes paying our dues in full, as is included in the Republican platform (Mark will write more on this later).

What is interesting is that Holmes has a laundry list of UN accomplishments on his Heritage Foundation bio page, including:

Holmes was instrumental in ensuring that the U.N. Security Council acted to establish the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and addressed the serious matters of genocide in Sudan and sexual abuses by U.N. peacekeepers in the Congo and elsewhere.

He garnered multilateral support for the Security Council’s first-ever nonproliferation resolution that also affirms the utility of partnerships such as the U.S. Proliferation Security Initiative.

He helped secure a new U.N. mandate that the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services must release its reports to member states upon request.

He led the outcry over Libya’s assuming chairmanship of the Commission on Human Rights, which began today’s universal call for that body’s total refashioning.

He was instrumental in establishing both a democracy caucus and a Democracy Fund at the U.N. and in getting many qualified Americans into high-level positions in various U.N. and international organization secretariats.

I agree. These are significant accomplishments and are things that Holmes should be proud of not only online, but in person.

There was a bright side at the end of Holmes’s statement however. He smartly dismissed the idea of a “League of Democracies” right out. McCain has pushed this idea in the past. I’m heading to a panel where Bill McInturff will discuss polling on Amercans’ views of U.S. engagement abroad. I’ll see if we can glean any more information about where the American public comes down on these issues.

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