Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer of Bureau of International Organization Affairs today stated the importance of Obama’s Administration’s engagement at the UN and how it advances U.S. national interests.
At the Center for American Progress, Ms. Brimmer discussed the tangible benefits that U.S. engagement with the UN provides Americans.
“I want to make the case that if we are going to address 21st century challenges, in an effective and financially sound way, the United States must continue to embrace a global leadership role at the United Nations.” -Ms. Brimmer
She highlighted that U.S. economy and security are intertwined with that of the rest of the globe. She cited that the benefits of U.S. multilateral engagement to U.S. national security are well-known.
“In a 21st century world where threats do not stop at borders, the United States cannot tackle many of our most urgent problems alone.” -Ms. Brimmer
She pointed out that to respond to these and other threats, U.S. engagement at the United Nations works.
“It enhances U.S. national security. It advances core American values, including human rights. And it builds and maintains the global networks and systems worldwide, on which our 21st century economy depends.”-Ms. Brimmer
She noted that it works, because as a tool for addressing these common challenges, multilateral engagement lets Americans share with other countries the financial and political burden of addressing global challenges.
“I will be frank: important issues will be addressed at the United Nations whether or not the United States chooses to be actively engaged. So in reality, our choice is between maintaining global leadership at the UN, or ceding it to those who would not act in our interests.” -Ms. Brimmer
She emphasized that in Libya, the U.S and its partners worked across the UN system to marshal a robust international response. She said the United States won tough Security Council sanctions, an ICC referral of Qadhafi, and when the world’s warning was not heeded, an unprecedented Security Council mandate to intervene to protect civilians, and prevent atrocities.
Ms. Brimmer stressed that UN also has been instrumental in combating nuclear proliferation. Security Council sanctions on Iran have hampered that regime’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Tough sanctions against North Korea allowed cargo vessels to be inspected and illegal arms shipments seized.
“The UN also is key to the international response after we have passed the crisis point, working to prevent further conflict and crisis.” -Ms. Brimmer
She noted that engagement at the UN is also an important part of American counterterrorism efforts. She said the Security Council sanctions against al Qaeda have, through their universal application, isolated and frozen the assets of terrorists and their supporters. She added that working through UN bodies like the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the United States and its partners are helping to prevent and combat terrorism by building national capacity, and sharing best practices.
“Beyond these tangible benefits to U.S. national security, our robust engagement across the UN system sends an important message to the world, namely that the United States remains a global leader. We have no intention of abdicating that role, or the responsibilities that come with it.” -Ms. Brimmer
She highlighted that global leadership means working in the Security Council to bring together representatives from all corners of the map, including emerging powers, to address the threats and challenges.
“The world has changed markedly since the United Nations was founded in 1945. But if to protect our security against transnational threats, advance our values as an alternative to extremism, and promote international stability to advance our economy, U.S. engagement in the United Nations is more essential than it has ever been.” -Ms. Brimmer