Under the Influence: The U.N. is the United States’ to Lose

Under the Influence: The U.N. is the United States’ to Lose

The time has come, once again, to castigate the United Nations. In response to North Korea's test-missile firing, the Security Council remained deadlocked in its anachronistically Cold War ways and couldn't muster a full resolution. Instead, it passed a presidential statement, which the U.S. has since had to argue is even legally binding. North Korea has since expelled U.N. weapon inspectors and said it will again pursue weapons-grade plutonium. This comes on the heels of a general failure of the Human Rights Council, a missing-in-action secretary general and the U.S. boycotting the U.N.-hosted World Conference on Racism in Geneva this week.

Considering where the U.N. came from, all of this is quite curious. After all, the U.N. was, in large part, a creation of the United States. As the U.S. and Russia hold veto power over all matters at the Security Council, it was little surprise that next to nothing was accomplished over the course of the Cold War. However, today's interconnected global order -- with its transnational threats, proliferation of non-state actors and fickle economic system -- would seemingly demand exactly an international roundtable on the magnitude of the U.N. As Henry Kissinger puts it, "The international system thus faces a paradox. . . . The managers of globalization have few occasions to manage its political processes."

As disorder prevails and American foreign policy obviates a grand strategy to pursue an Obamian pragmatic path, it would actually serve U.S. interests far more than many would like to admit to first exercise, and then all-out flex, the country's diplomatic muscle at the U.N.

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