Thursday, June 9, 2011
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BROADCASTING LIVE FROM THE UNITED NATIONS IN NEW YORK
1:06 - 1:19
From the UN: A weary America rediscovers multilateralism
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has not been in a particularly cooperative mood. Iraq is the easy example, President George W. Bush assembling a "coalition of the willing" and blowing past international criticism when the U.S. invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. But it goes beyond President Bush, with President Bill Clinton taking his own page out of the unilateral playbook when he forced NATO action to stop Serbian hostiles in Kosovo in 1999. The times, they are a changing-facing war weariness in Iraq and Afghanistan and serious budget constraints that limit the size and scope of military adventures, the U.S. under President Barack Obama has rediscovered multilateralism. In Libya the U.S. was quite hesitant to get involved in the brewing civil war, until the Arab League asked for action against Muammar Gaddafi; and even after the UN passed a resolution authorizing force to protect civilians, the U.S. was more than happy to take a backseat to its European partners. Will this new multilateral outlook on the world carry over to other policy areas, like the efforts to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon or the possibility of an international agreement on climate change? We check in with the American mission to the UN to see how far the new multilateralism can, and should, go.
Mark Kornblau, director of communications and spokesman for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
1:21:30 - 1:39
From the UN: Besieged on all sides, Israel's lonely quest for security & respect
No matter how you feel about the Jewish state, it's safe to say it ain't easy being Israel. As Israel was celebrating its independence and 63 years of existence, protesters in Lebanon and Syria were rushing the northern Israeli border, forcing a confrontation that killed over a dozen mostly Palestinian demonstrators. The scene was repeated earlier this week on the anniversary of the 1967 war-Syria allowed protesters to cross the border and the Israeli military opened fire, killing 23. The two incidents are indicative of the complicated situation in which Israel finds itself, with chaos and uncertainty all around it from a violent repression of anti-government protests in Syria to a whole new paradigm in previously friendly Egypt. The dormant peace process with the Palestinians lurks in the shadows, a key part of the future of the entire Middle East. The UN is set to host a new twist in the tortured peace process when a vote on the recognition of a Palestinian state is expected to come before the General Assembly in September. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress last month he made a forceful defense of Israel's security interests, in the aftermath of President Obama calling for a return of pre-1967 borders as part of any peace deal. Without new thinking and new daring from both the Israelis and Palestinians, is peace possible? We look at a dangerous world through an Israeli perspective.
Ambassador Haim Waxman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
1:41:30 - 1:58:30
From the UN: A new Egypt takes shape, leading the transformation of the Middle East
Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Syria-all have either undergone or are in the process of undergoing radical changes during this "Arab Spring" but there is arguably no more important country that underwent a more significant transformation than Egypt. Guardians of thousands of years of transnational history, longtime vanguard of the Arab world and major ally of the United States, Egypt is still coming to grips with the end of 30 years of totalitarian rule under Hosni Mubarak-the shape of a new, democratic Egypt is far from certain and how that new Egypt interacts with the rest of the world is also remains a mystery. A military council currently rules Egypt with elections tentatively scheduled for the Fall, but will the military voluntarily cede power to civilian rule? The economy remains a stratified mess, and the IMF just agreed to $3 billion in loans to Egypt-can a new democracy and a new economy be created simultaneously? How does a new Egyptian government deal with Israel and the Palestinians; how does it deal with autocratic Arab allies like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Sudan? We peer into a murky crystal ball with Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations about the future of this vitally important country.
Ambassador Maged Abdelfattah Abdelaziz, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations
2:06 - 2:19
From the UN: What's the world body's communications strategy...to the world?
The United Nations has never been the most popular or well understood body in the United States, nor the rest of the world. Hesitant at some points to definitively act (Rwanda, Serbia) and seemingly impotent at other times (the entire Iraq war controversy), the UN is both distrusted and looked upon to make some sense in a constantly conflicted world. How can the UN walk a fine line in sanctioned operations like in Libya, where the official goal is protect Libyan civilians but the unstated purpose seems to be getting rid of Muammar Gaddafi? Did the UN act quickly enough to stop bloodshed in the Ivory Coast after a disputed presidential election turned bloody? How will the body handle a potentially inflammatory vote to recognize a state of Palestine expected to come in September? We get an insider's view on the complicated tight wire act that is communicating the agenda and decisions of the United Nations from their director of communications who not long ago used to be on the other end of this equation, reporting on the UN for Newsweek.
Michael Meyer, communications director & chief speech writer for the Secretary-General, United Nations; member of the Council on Foreign Relations; former Europe Editor for Newsweek International
2:21:30 - 2:39
From the UN: Could the fate of Pakistan be the most important question in the world?
Perhaps that's a bit of hyperbole, but consider all of the combustible elements that make up Pakistan: bordering Afghanistan and heavily influencing its government for generations; bordering the world's largest democracy in India with the constant threat of all out warfare hanging over both countries; in possession of nuclear weapons; ruled by a shaky civilian government and a strong military with contradictory allegiances and priorities; urban and educated in some areas of the country, tribal and religiously extreme in others; a ally of the United States in some senses and one of its biggest threats in others. Pakistan is a dangerous enigma, and given its size, its location and its nuclear weapons, the future of the country is of vital interest to the entire world. The aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden illustrates the conflicts Pakistanis are confronting-many in the country expressed embarrassment that the al Qaeda leader was living such a normal life in the military town of Abbottabad, but they were equally embarrassed that the U.S. military could enter their country with impunity. American drones patrolling their skies and bombing their tribal areas is infuriating and yet the U.S. showers billions of dollars in foreign aid on Pakistan's government. Given all of these complicated contradictions, what can Pakistan hope for the future?
Ambassador Abullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations
2:41:30 - 2:58:30
From the UN: Is a viable international deal on climate change & carbon emissions possible?
Janos Paztor, executive secretary of the UN Secretary-General's Global Sustainability Panel
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
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