Last week’s top-level session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York offered three basic lessons. The first is that the United States can still dominate the U.N. when it wants to. The second is that a clear majority of other countries’ leaders are quite relieved to follow an American lead. But the third is that the U.N. is only really still relevant in two—admittedly sensitive—regions: Africa and the Middle East.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly defied the international community's wishes regarding Ukraine, first by annexing Crimea then by supporting a separatist movement that has the country on the brink of civil war. This week, the Russian government arrived in New York to demonstrate its sincerity about making peace with Ukraine.
During his speech at the opening session of the UN General Assembly as well as when advocating for the binding resolution on foreign fighters, US President Barack Obama shifted some attention from the short-term threat posed by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) to the longer-term goals of attacking extremist ideology at its source.