Ban Ki-moon revealed a new side to his character over the past week: Action Ban. The secretary-general of the United Nations announced that he was tired of just talking about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He outlined plans for an ambitious regional mission to fight the disease, then he hit the streets of Manhattan on Sunday, joining 310,000 marchers calling for urgent action over climate change.
Against the grim backdrop of global terrorism and a deadly health crisis, world leaders are preparing to convene in New York for their annual gathering at the United Nations General Assembly. The terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State and efforts to control the spread of the Ebola virus are expected to dominate discussions.
On September 17, 2014 CIC Director Barnett Rubin spoke on a panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The event accompanied the launch of a report which examines the impact of US policy on a nuclear agreement on the Middle East. For more information on the event and report, please visit the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Upon first taking office, Barack Obama promised that his presidency would be all about hope. He made this offer to foreigners as well as Americans. Five years on, Obama is fighting conflicts that stubbornly refuse to end, but he still has a potent diplomatic weapon. It is not hope, but fear.
There was fighting talk at last week’s NATO summit in Wales. The alliance’s leaders pulled few punches in criticizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine and agreed on plans to counter future provocations by Moscow. The U.S. corralled a posse of its allies to coordinate the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State. After a summer characterized by global turbulence and ill-concealed uncertainty in both the U.S. and Europe over how to react, the summit signaled that the West has some sense of shared purpose.
Worlds apart, two leaders are planning to intervene in worsening conflicts outside their borders, and citing humanitarian concerns as their rationale. In Iraq, President Barack Obama and his administration are considering how to contain the violent march of radical Islamist militants and provide help to those whom the Islamists threaten with extermination. In the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a convoy of 280 trucks with what the Russians describe as “humanitarian aid” for the embattled region.
President Barack Obama will preside over a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during his attendance of the U.N.’s annual General Assembly, ThinkProgress has learned, marking the second time in history that a U.S. president has done so.