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.
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.
Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Ukraine and Russia in conflict and the Ebola virus are all continue grabbing headlines as the 69th UN General Assembly gets underway this week. Earlier this week, NY1's Michael Herzenberg got a preview of the session from Richard Gowan of the NYU Center on International Cooperation.
Europe’s strategic situation is simultaneously precarious and curiously comfortable. From eastern Ukraine to northern Africa, conflicts crowd in on the European Union (EU). Yet the bloc’s security may actually benefit from the ongoing instability in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the energies of potential foes, ranging from Russian President Vladimir Putin to various Islamist radical groups, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly.
The Syrian war, currently overshadowed by its offshoot in Iraq, remains a ruinous blight on international diplomacy. Nearly half a year after the furiously hyped but fundamentally hopeless peace talks between the government and moderate rebels in Geneva, no end to the fighting is in sight.
The UN security council has voted unanimously to authorise deliveries of humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas of Syria, without the approval of the Damascus regime, in a rare show of international unity that diplomats say will help get food to 1.3 million people trapped behind the lines.
The Arab Spring has reminded us of the importance of properly understanding the tasks, pace and sequencing of the political transition that follows the cessation of conflict or collapse of authoritarian regimes. Transitions are bridges between old and new political orders, and it is essential that they should be resilient to a wide range of potential challenges.
March 16, 2013 marks the one year anniversary of Kofi Annan's presentation of his six-point peace plan for Syria at the United Nations. In an article in the journal Stability , Richard Gowan takes this opportunity to reflect on Annan's role as mediator and the effect that uncertainty has in conflict resolution.
The Libyan and Syrian crises have caused major international rifts over the use of force and crisis management. In February CIC convened a conference with the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute and the Brookings Institution to address how the U.S., its allies and emerging powers can rebuild trust around crisis diplomacy. The event involved scholars and officials from the U.S., Europe, China, India and Brazil.