Multilateralism Under Siege

Obama Stresses Multilateralism over Militarism at West Point

U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday stressed multilateralism over militarism in what was billed as a major foreign policy address and a rebuttal to an ever-louder chorus of criticism, mostly by Republicans and neo-conservatives, that his tenure has been marked by weakness and retreat.

Full recovery of the global economy will take at least four or five years, says former head of UNCTAD Rubens Ricupero. Credit:  UNCTAD

Q&A: “Social Unrest Can Be a Creative Force”

Social unrest and demands for change are not a negative thing during times of crisis like today, says Rubens Ricupero, a prominent Brazilian diplomat and intellectual.

Since 9/11, the United States' global standing has plunged dramatically -- a decline largely fueled by its alienating and costly "war on terror". Credit:  A. Golden/eyewash design

U.S.: Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded

A decade after its spectacular Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City's twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and despite the killing earlier this year of its charismatic leader, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda appears to have largely succeeded in its hopes of accelerating the decline of U.S. global power, if not bringing it to the brink of collapse.

Obama takes questions on Libya during a visit to El Salvador, Mar. 22, 2011. Credit: White House Photo, Pete Souza

LIBYA: Obama Doctrine of Multilateralism on the Line

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) prepares to assume command and control of military operations in Libya after five days of the United States at the helm, U.S. President Barack Obama's doctrine of multilateralism is on the line.

WIKILEAKS: Yours Obediently, Europe

Commenting on the state of trans-Atlantic relations in 2008, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter argued that European Union governments are "not our vassals" but "occupy an equal position with the U.S." Documents released over the past month appear to offer a different view.

U.S.: Public Most Inward-Looking in 40 Years, Poll Finds

Despite President Barack Obama's emphasis on diplomatic engagement, the U.S. public has become more inward-looking and unilateralist than at any time since the early stages of the Vietnam War, according to the latest in a series of quadrennial surveys on foreign policy attitudes released Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

POLITICS: U.N. Session Marked by Highs and Lows

The two-week long high-level segment of the U.N. General Assembly, which concluded last week, was characterised by historic moments, political controversies, and at times, routine boredom.

POLITICS: U.N. to Live or Die by Its Policy Ideas

The United Nations has long been described - rather contemptuously - as one of the world's biggest talking shops.

US-IRAN: To Deal or Not to Deal, That Is the Question

In 2007, after eight months of detention in Iran – four in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison – Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari returned to the U.S. and held a press conference at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, where she directs the Middle East Programme.

SCIENCE: G8 Failure to Launch on Climate

The G8's failure to make meaningful commitments on climate last week pushes the world ever closer to global climate catastrophe, experts warn. Without commitments to take action, there is little comfort in G8 countries' agreement to keep overall global warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius.

FINANCE: OECD Tax Havens Deal Falls Short, Critics Say

Jeffrey Owens, the tax "point person" of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was stung by activist critics of the OECD standards under which countries will be put on a tax haven blacklist and targeted for sanctions.

POLITICS: Maritime Treaty Would Boost U.S. Interests, Report Says

The U. S. should quickly accede to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report.

FINANCE-US: IRS on the Track of Tax-Cheating “John Doe’s”

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is hitting pay dirt with a novel legal tactic designed to catch tax evaders. And it's going to use it to force international banks to give up the names of tax cheats.

POLITICS: Obama Sets New Course at the U.N.

After nearly a decade of an often tense and estranged relationship with the United Nations, Washington appears to be taking a much more conciliatory and multilateral approach to the world body.

POLITICS: The U.S. Is Back in Geneva

United States diplomats are back in force at the U.N., after having distanced themselves from the world body for several years. This week they contributed to successful mediation between Georgia and Russia, although they did not help resolve a stalemate on gay rights.

ENVIRONMENT: U.S. Back in the Fold?

After nearly a decade of defiance by Washington toward international efforts to protect the environment, notably its disengagement from the Kyoto treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, there are high hopes that the United States will soon play a leading role in addressing what U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described as "the defining challenge of our era".

POLITICS: U.N. Hopes for “New Multilateralism” Under Obama

With the election of Democratic Senator Barack Obama as the next president of the United States, many observers and diplomats believe the United Nations can look forward to stronger cooperation with Washington - after eight years of often contentious relations with the George W. Bush administration.

POLITICS: Is Cold War Rhetoric Back at the U.N.?

When the United States and the former Soviet Union were on the verge of a military confrontation over Cuba during the height of the Cold War, the legendary U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson went eyeball-to-eyeball with Soviet envoy Valerian Zorin in the Security Council chamber.

BOOKS-US: A Path Out of the Wilderness

Helena Cobban's new book, "Re-Engage! America and the World After Bush", is not aimed at a target audience of officials, policy wonks and Washington elite think-tank types. So much is clear from a tagline running across the bottom of the cover: "An informed citizen's guide."

EUROPE: Germans Love Obama – For Now

The extraordinary enthusiasm with which Germans greeted U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama in Berlin Thursday may have concealed a fear: once the presidency of George W. Bush ends, Germans might be forced to close ranks with the U.S. and go back to playing the role of military junior partner of a superpower at war.

POLITICS-US: A League of Their Own

A radical foreign policy idea put forth by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has drawn cheers of support from sources as varied as his campaign's neo-conservative backers to liberal internationalists from the camp of his rival, Sen. Barack Obama. But the idea is not without some surprising detractors.

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