Sustaining America's Global Leadership: U.S. Priorities at the United Nations

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 7, 2011

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer delivered remarks today at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where she outlined U.S. priorities at the United Nations. Assistant Secretary Brimmer said:

"...We are here today just two weeks before the opening of the 66th UN General Assembly, when the eyes of the world turn to the United Nations in New York. At this year's General Assembly, we will work with the international community on the next steps for assistance to the transition in Libya. We will address the mounting humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, and peace and security in Sudan and South Sudan. We will devote high-level attention to the urgent global public health challenges posed by non-communicable diseases. And on the sidelines of the UNGA, we will co-host with Brazil the first head of state-level meeting of the Open Government Partnership, bringing countries together to strengthen governance through transparency and citizen empowerment.

"But the formal agenda will take place against a backdrop of global changes, historic challenges, and new opportunities too large to fit in any meeting hall.

"Looking back a year ago, none of us could have imagined the seismic political transformation taking place across North Africa and the Middle East. Though incomplete, it holds great promise for a new era in which democratic impulses and human rights are embraced, not suppressed.

"Today, new centers of emerging influence are identifying the bedrock principles for their foreign policies in the 21st century. From what we have seen to date, many current and future leaders shape their outlook and approach to the world in the UN's halls and corridors, where we must highlight the expanded responsibility that comes with a greater presence on the global stage.

"Here in the United States, we face our own challenges. This Administration has strengthened our national security and restored U.S. global influence by engaging multilaterally. Yet there are still some here in Washington intent on forcing a U.S. retreat from global leadership, by hindering our participation in the UN system, seemingly unaware of the profoundly altered global landscape.

"It is against this backdrop that I want to discuss not only the U.S. goals for the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly, but also the Administration's approach to the UN, and the centrality of multilateral diplomacy to U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century.

"In short, U.S. engagement with the UN has never been more critical or more beneficial to our nation. We cannot turn back the clock to a time when the world was simpler and less interconnected, and multilateral engagement was less essential to core U.S. interests."

You can read Assistant Secretary Brimmer's full remarks here.

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