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To Turtle Bay He Goes!

As Matt reported below, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee formally approved Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's nomination for United States Ambassador to the United Nations. During his hearing two weeks ago, Khalilzad offered welcome testimony affirming the centrality of the United Nations to American foreign policy objectives. You can read Khalilzad's full statement here and UN Foundation President Tim Wirth's enthusiastic endorsement of Khalilzad here. Highlights from Khalilzad's testimony are below the fold.
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Weekend Reading

Mark Lagon, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, has teamed with the Stanley Foundation's David Shorr in a paper that addresses American expectations of the United Nations. The joint report, titled How to Keep from Overselling or Underestimating the United Nations is part of the Stanley Foundation's new series Bridging the Foreign Policy Divide. You can read the pdf here.
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Oil for Food: A Look Back

In the new issue of the World Policy Journal, Ian Williams offers the final word on the often discussed, but little understood, Oil For Food program. The article is a study in how a small number of determined right-wing pundits in the United States turned their vendetta against Kofi Annan into an easily swallowed media narrative about rampant corruption at the UN. You can read the entire piece (as a pdf) here. Some highlights are below the fold. And as always, for more information on the program, visit Oil for Food Facts.
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Lugar Gets It

In today's confirmation hearing for Zalmay Khalilzad, nominated to be the next United States ambassador to the United Nations, a number of senators pointed out a problematic contradiction of American policy toward the UN. At the Security Council, the United States and other members advocate sending more and more UN peacekeepers to global hot spots. But back in Washington, the White House is proposing to slash its financial contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. At the hearing, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, explained this dilemma well:
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New Gallup Poll

Gallup released the latest installment in a long-runinng series of polls that take the temperature of Americans' attitude toward the United Nations. On the basic question of job performance, the United Nations has yet to recover from the sharp drop it experienced in the run up to the Iraq war, when a large majority of Americans thought the UN was acting against American interests and trying to prevent the war. Still, as the poll showes, most Americans want the United Nations to have a robust role in setting global policies. You can view the entire poll here.
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Supporting the UN Mission to the Middle East

Watching the President's comments this week complaining "about [UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's] approach to the crisis, and for holding the view of many leaders [at the G-8 summit] that Israel and Hamas and Hezbollah should ceasefire and hash out their differences," one might think that the President is upset about the role that the UN is playing in the current crisis in the Middle East. Nothing could be further from the truth. Monday afternoon White House Press Secretary Tony Snow clarified the President's position saying that he "has been supportive from the very start of the U.N. mission to the region."
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Bush: “United Nations is Playing a Vital Role in Iraq”

President Bush: "The United Nations is playing a vital role in Iraq -- they assisted in last January's elections, and the negotiations for the constitution, and in the recent constitutional referendum. And at the request of the Iraqi government, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution extending the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq through 2006."
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“The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis”

From President Bush's speech at Fort Bragg, N.C. 6/28/05: "In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time.... In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections."