Saturday, August 15, 2009

Obama and the U.N. General Assembly

Credo asked me to vote among five choices on the question, "What message should President Obama deliver to the world at the UN General Assembly?"
Choices were: Security; Climate Change; Millennium Development Goals; Treaties; Multilateralism.
Then, they provided a forum for me to comment on Facebook.
Here's my comment:

I think that Obama will and should mention the climate change goals--the U.S. legislation, weak as it may be, and leadership at the Copenhagen conference in developing new worldwide objectives and policies. More important, though, and more likely to be underplayed in his speech is that he feature the Millennium Development objectives, so that's what I voted for.

I'd like to suggest something else of enduring importance, one that specifically concerns the U.N. as an organization and does not get much attention here in the U.S.: the need for general reform of the U.N. Charter, and specifically to expand the Security Council. The U.S. should go on record as favoring the expansion of the Security Council by four seats: permanent ones for Brazil, India, and Japan, as well as one to be shared in alternate years by Germany and Turkey. Most ambitiously, he should suggest the notion that the Security Council move to Jerusalem (!) and pledge a battalion of U.S. Marines to defend its security. That would be a Wow! moment the world would never forget.

Finally, if he believes in it, Obama should declare his personal support for a new, democratically-elected assembly to replace the UNESCO organization. Constituencies for this new body should be set up to cross national boundaries, consider ethnic group representation, and the quality of electoral participation should be monitored by a new Electoral Supervision Agency;the U.N. should, for the first time, assist the world in moving toward participatory democracy.

I'm sure that's more than Credo asked for; more than Obama would want to hear; and more than my compatriots would sign up for. But, there it is: what I think he should say.

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