On Meet the Press on Sunday, Susan Rice explained why the United Nations remains vital to American interests, despite the Chavez-Ahmidenjad-Kadaffi General Assembly side-show.
GREGORY: Finally, you — talking about the United Nations, the body where you are now serving as our ambassador. Recently during the U.N. General Assembly Meeting in New York, Americans saw this kind of parade of anti-Americanism. You see Chavez of Venezuela, Ahmadinejad of Iran and Gadhafi — who, you know, may still be speaking for as far as we know. You once said that the U.N. is imperfect but it is also indispensable.
When you look at that showing, what is the indispensable part?
RICE: David, there are 192 countries in the United Nations. You picked out three that provided some barroom drama during the course of the General Assembly. The United Nations is critically important to our national security because it is the one place that we can marshal with the force of law the commitment of other nations to do things that we need to protect our security.
For example, when we got the Security Council last June to pass the toughest sanctions on the books today against any country in the world, North Korea, we got something that was much more powerful than anything we could muster on our own. We are not able, given transnational threats, proliferation, terrorism, climate change, pandemic, to tackle these challenges along. No country is, even one as powerful as our own. We need to marshal the active support of others.
Now, sometimes the U.N. falls short, it doesn’t do all that we want it to do, and particularly in cases like human rights and — and cases of atrocities.
And that’s an area where we need to — to push for improvements. But when it comes to issues of critical importance to our security, like proliferation, like terrorism, we have seen progress come from the United Nations when we can get them to come together and pressure countries like North Korea to do what is necessary to keep us and others safer.