When Barack Obama was campaigning to be president of the United States in 2008, he frequently promised Americans that he would lead the world. In fact, he and his team relentlessly pounded President George W. Bush for "going it alone" and alienating our friends and allies around the globe. His then-campaign foreign policy advisor and current U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice even joked about how, if elected, they would repair the damage and lead the UN in a way that the Bush team couldn't.
But after almost 2 years on the job, Rice and Obama haven't been able to garner support from the UN to implement U.S. foreign policy priorities as they said they would. In fact, on Iran, North Korea, Sudan and UN reform, Obama and Rice haven't produced the support Bush garnered. While Rice has touted her performance on one Iran sanctions resolution as unique progress at the UN, her final vote count on that one resolution got more "No" votes than did Bush's five Iran resolutions got in total.
Unfortunately, Rice has also been painfully quiet when faced with resistance and hostility from the enemies of democracy and freedom. As President Obama goes back to the UN this week, there are 10 things he should do to more forcefully push for progress on U.S. priorities and more aggressively defend the U.S.:
- Make clear that the Arizona law the UN attacked was written to stop illegal immigration, not prohibit legal immigration.
- Call out the Human Rights Council for yet another disastrous year of Israel bashing and overlooking rights violators.
- Nominate a U.S. Ambassador level person to tackle UN reform and UN budget waste, fraud, abuse and duplicity.
- Ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to ascertain how erroneous scientific claims were added to official UN reports.
- Make clear that the United States will not unilaterally disarm its nuclear weapons and will not support restrictions on private firearm ownership.
- Call for a total review of every UN peace-keeping operation and end those that aren't making progress.
- Ask the African Union to pressure Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to end the violence and intimidation of southern Sudan and allow international observers for January's referendum.
- Condemn any global airline tax that the UN is thinking of implementing to pay for climate change initiatives.
- Make clear that his Administration will not become a signatory of the International Criminal Court until significant changes are made to satisfy Senate concerns and protect American personnel overseas.
- Correct the record with the UN press corps that First Lady Michelle Obama doesn't think that being first lady is "hell" but that she is actually very proud to represent the greatest country in the world.
These 10 proposals would go a far way in showing the UN that while the Obama Administration is interested in seeking a kinder, gentler world; it will not allow a further retreat of democracy and human rights just to get along with others.