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    If Biden declines to run for re-election, the most likely replacement is Vice President Kamala Harris. In this week’s episode of To Save Us From Hell we take a deep dive into Kamala Harris’ views of the United Nations. We discuss how she’s engaged with the UN since becoming Vice President and why there are some subtle but important distinctions between her approach to the UN and that of President Biden.

    We kick off at the Security Council, where an emergency meeting on Ukraine led to a revealing clash between the Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors. The meeting followed Russian airstrikes on a children’s hospital in Kyiv, which Russia denied. Things got particularly heated when the Russian Ambassador, acting in his capacity as President of the Security Council, raised procedural objections against letting Ukraine into the meeting(!).

    We also discuss an event around the UN that should attract more media attention than it actually does. The High-Level Political Forum is the third-largest annual gathering at the United Nations and serves as an annual check-up on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The centerpiece of this meeting includes over 40 “Voluntary National Reviews” in which countries report and discuss their own progress towards the SDGs. We discuss what’s happening at this year’s High-Level Political Forum and the merits of peer pressure as an accountability mechanism for the SDGs.

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  • A new month means a new president of the UN Security Council. On July 1, Russia took the helm of the most powerful body in the United Nations system and announced that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would chair two Security Council meetings during Russia’s presidency. The problem is, Lavrov is under a travel ban and asset freeze by the United States for his actions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In our first segment, we discuss what happens when leaders under American sanctions come to the United Nations in New York? We also discuss Russia’s plans for its month-long presidency and why the credibility of the Security Council is not really impacted by Russia taking its turn at the helm.

    Our second segment examines the diminished role that the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) plays in the UN system today. R2P was enshrined in the UN charter nearly 20 years ago as a way to confront genocide and mass atrocities, but its relevance has decreased ever since it was invoked to justify a Security Council-backed intervention in Libya. We discuss why that is and what’s next for R2P.

    Our final segment examines newly passed legislation from a key committee in the United States House of Representatives that would nearly completely defund the United Nations. Republicans were not always so hostile to the UN, so what has changed? And what can we expect from Republicans in the future?

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  • The United Nations Interim Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has more peacekeepers deployed per square kilometer than any other UN peacekeeping mission in the world. These peacekeepers have helped avert an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah in the past, but tensions are very high right now.

    Our second segment focuses on a summit this week between Taliban officials and representatives of about 30 governments and international institutions, convened in Doha under UN auspices. This meeting is controversial and has earned reprobation in some circles for the fact that no Afghan women will be represented.

    Finally, we share an excerpt of our interview with Courtney Fung, an academic who studies Chinese diplomacy and its approach to the United Nations. This is a 15-minute excerpt of our full 40-minute interview that is available to our paying supporters. The interview covers China’s evolving relationship to the UN, including how the policies and strategies it pursues are changing as it becomes a more robust global power.

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  • This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.globaldispatches.org

    For most of the history of the United Nations, China was not a major power. The China of today was only given its seat at the UN in 1971. (Prior to that, the seat was occupied by Taiwan.) For the subsequent two decades, China was mostly focused inward. It was not until relatively recently that China has taken a keen interest in using the United Nations to advance its foreign policy agenda.

    So what is that agenda as it relates to the UN? What values, norms and interests drive Chinese policies towards the UN? What does China want from the UN? And how does it pursue those goals? What is the future of China’s approach to multilateral diplomacy in general, and the UN in particular?

    Joining us to answer these questions and more is Courtney Fung, Associate Professor in the Department of Security Studies & Criminology at Macquarie University and a Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University for Spring 2024. We kick off discussing the history of China’s approach to the United Nations before having a long conversation about China’s intentions at the United Nations.

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  • As we sat down to record the episode, Vladimir Putin was being feted in Pyongyang by Kim Jong Un. The two had just signed a security pact revived from the Cold War era, signaling an ever-closer alliance and marking the death knell of nearly 20 years of North Korea nuclear diplomacy at the Security Council. Meanwhile, over the last ten days we’ve seen the first meaningful progress at the Security Council on the two worst crises in the world: Gaza and Sudan. We discuss what lead to a near-unanimous Security Council resolutions on a Gaza ceasefire proposal and a Sudan resolution aimed at stopping an attack on a major city in Darfur. We discuss whether or not these resolutions can push the warring parties to a cessation of hostilities and what to make of a rather awkward (and heated!) encounter between the Sudanese and Emirati ambassadors to the UN.

    We wrap up with conversation about Martin Griffiths, the top UN humanitarian official who is leaving his post at the end of the month. We discuss why the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs is arguably the second most important position at the UN behind the Secretary-General, who might replace him—and why this position has always gone to a British diplomat in recent years. The last non-Brit to hold this post, Jan Egeland, joins us to offer his advice for the incoming top UN humanitarian official.

    Also discussed:

    * Why a new UN report on children and armed conflict has exacerbated already deteriorating relations between Antonio Guterres and the Israeli ambassador the UN.

    * Why Malta’s UN ambassador Vanessa Frazier’s stock is rising around the UN.

    * Is Jan Egeland the ultimate United Nations Superhero Man?

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  • "To Save Us From Hell" is a new weekly chat show about the United Nations. Each week, two veteran UN watchers break down the latest news from the United Nations, giving our audience insights into what is driving the agenda at UN headquarters and in its operations around the world. Co-host Mark Leon Goldberg is a veteran journalist who is editor in Chief of UN Dispatch and founder of Global Dispatches. He's covered the UN for nearly 20 years. Anjali Dayal is a well-known professor at Fordham University whose written books about the UN and teaches students about its intricacies. They are teaming up for this one-of-a-kind podcast that will launch in the middle of June.

    Learn more: https://www.globaldispatches.org/



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