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New Poll: Don’t Go It Alone

The United Nations Foundation released the results of a major survey of Americans' foreign policy attitudes today. Americans, the poll finds, are virtually unanimous (86% of all voters) in the belief that working with allies and through international organizations is a wiser strategy for achieving America's foreign policy priorities. The poll also finds that 73% of all voters are more likely to vote for a candidate for President who understands that "solutions to world problems require international cooperation, whether they are economic problems, environmental problems, or problems of peace and war and that international cooperation is a better way of solving some of the world's key problems." Voters also show a strong preference for a candidate who can put an end to anti-Americanism and "restore trust in America through strong diplomatic efforts and cooperative partnerships with other nations around the world." One interesting caveat to all this is that young voters reflected stronger preferences toward isolationism than older Americans. The poll finds "young people, disillusioned by the war in Iraq, are "new isolationists." GOP primary voters, on the other hand, were increasingly open to the idea of international cooperation. "Overall," says the poll "a sharp generational difference has opened in the United States, with older Americans more inclined to support U.S. involvement in international affairs." To view the survey data, click here. For those in the Washington, DC area, the data will be released during an event at the National Press Club at 1:30 this afternoon, featuring UN Foundation President Timothy Wirth, Brookings Institution President Carlos Pascual, Geoff Garin, President of Peter D. Hart Research, Bill McInturff, President of Public Opinion Strategies and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Ivo Daalder.
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Boiling down the UNCLOS “debate”

While Gail Collins's shtick on the political attention being paid to the Convention on the Law of the Sea does her readers a bit of a disservice considering its actual importance, her column in Saturday's Times does a pretty good job of boiling down the "debate."
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Google Earth and the MDGs: Together at Last

The United Nations teamed up with Cisco Systems and Google to launch this funky new website that, among other things, uses Google Earth to track progress (or lack there of) on the Millennium Development Goals. Using Google Earth, you can click on the capital of a country to learn statistics like: the percentage of the population that earns under a dollar a day, the percent of children enrolled in primary school, annual GDP growth, and interestingly, carbon dioxide emissions per capita. The pop-up also provides a link back to the original website, MDG Monitor, where you can get more detailed information on the country's progress toward meeting various development goals. See, for example, country profiles for Mongolia and Cote D'Ivoire. Funny enough, each pop-up map comes with a disclaimer: "The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations."
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‘Vague Paranoia’

Corine Hegland has written a great summary article (pdf) on UNCLOS for the National Journal. I got this from Matt, who writes "She's doing neutral reporting, so she doesn't come out and say that there's little to the opponents' case besides vague paranoia but she also make it clear that there's little to the opponents' case besides vague paranoia." Slate also published an "Explainer" on the race to claim the Artic today. Key quotes from Hegland's piece after the jump.
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In Retrospect

In the inaugural issue of the brand new Guardian American Allen Gerson, a former aid to the late UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, tells the heretofore unknown story of how the United States sought to justify the Iraq war before the now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights(UNCHR). Few can challenge the neo-conservative credentials of Kirkpatrick, so it is surprising that Gerson reveals Kirkpatrick's deep discomfort with the administration's attempt to jettison the UN Charter and justify the invasion of Iraq as a pre-emptive war. Here's the story: On the eve of war, the State Department sent Kirkpatrick to UNCHR headquarters in Geneva to try and block a resolution condemning the imminent US invasion. Foggy Bottom told Kirkpatrick to make her case by "defending the merits of the US action as justifiable on the grounds that Iraq was engaged in producing and hiding weapons of mass destruction and were ready to export them to terrorist groups like al-Qaida." Kirkpatrick, though, was not prepared to advance this position. In fact, in her time at the UN she consistently argued that the right of self-defense (as defined in article 51 of the UN Charter) did not include the right to launch pre-emptive wars. Rather, Kirkpatrick sought to appeal to the rule-of-law to stave off the opposing resolution. To that end, Kirkpatrick argued that the US-led invasion could be justified because Saddam was in material breach of the ceasefire resolution ending the 1991 Gulf War. In other words, military action against Iraq could be seen as a police action to enforce the UN Charter. Incidentally, Kirkpatrick's argument won the day in Geneva and ended up undermining the a resolution condemning the United States.
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Traub on UN in Iraq

The New York Times' James Traub (perhaps most famous for being the first-ever guest in our Delegates Lounge) just released a smart analysis of the UN in Iraq, which was commissioned by the Stanley Foundation. The PDF is here. The UN, says Traub, will inevitably assume the responsibility for negotiating a political settlement in Iraq. It the only body capable of acting both as an impartial mediator of Iraq's internal disputes and as a neutral platform to entice the support of Iraq's neighbors. The Bush administration is certainly pushing for this expanded UN role -- and the Secretary General is receptive. The problem, of course, is that Iraq's factions do not want the UN -- or anyone -- to arbitrate their disputes. Violence is still seen as a profitable way to secure political power, or deny it to others. Further, the United States has not made clear the extent to which it is willing to cede power to the United Nations to accomplish this task. Asks Traub, "Would the White House back a UN diplomat trying, say, to limit Kurdish control over Kirkuk? What if that diplomat needed to promise a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops in exchange for Sunni concessions?" At least for the moment, this does not seem to be the case.
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Bloggers on UNCLOS

Matt Stoller gets the significance of the UNCLOS:
Without being able to pass the very basic Law of the Sea treaty, there is no way we will ever get a treaty through on global warming, create the space to internationalize the Iraq mess, or work with allies abroad in any coherent manner. Fortunately, this is extremely winnable. All it will take is some floor time from Reid, and we'll win, embarrass, and marginalize the hyper-nationalists.
Conventional wisdom has it that these kinds of treaties are DOA in the Senate. UNCLOS seriously challenges that assumption. (This is probably why the people that Taylor Marsh calls the "anti-UN black helicopter crowd" are so frightened of its passage.) Ratifying LOS would makes future treaty ratification battles that much easier. And these are not treaties that will come up in the distant future. Negotiations over a post-Kyoto global environmental pact will begin in Bali in December. Should the Senate ratify UNCLOS, there is no reason to think that a strong accord coming out of the Bali process will automatically go the way of the Kyoto Protocal when it hits the Senate.