September 29, 2005

U.S. insists on keeping control of Web (BRADLEY S. KLAPPER, September 29, 2005, Associated Press)

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium’s principal overseer.

“We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet,” said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. “Some countries want that. We think that’s unacceptable.”

Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country’s role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development.

Nothing is more certain to turn even those Americans who aren’t entirely hostile to transnationalism into full-throated unilateralists than the idea of the UN controlling the Internet.



September 28, 2005

It’s Azerbaijan’s turn (Farhad Husseinov, 9/28/05, International Herald Tribune )

A country of 8.5 million people – roughly half of whom live in poverty – on the Western shores of the energy-rich Caspian Sea, [Azerbaijan] is preparing for parliamentary elections in early November. Baku, the capital, is the next obvious candidate for a democratic revolution of the kind witnessed in Georgia and Ukraine. At stake are the multibillion-dollar investments of oil giants like BP and Chevron.

The incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, is a Soviet-educated autocrat who inherited power from his late father, Geidar Aliyev, in late 2003 as a result of rigged elections followed by a ruthless police crackdown. […]

The greatest hope is invested in the newly forged Freedom Bloc, with the pro-Western Musavat Party as its driving force, which succeeded in holding a series of rallies across the country that the government was compelled to allow because of domestic and international pressure. The last such demonstration was organized in Baku on Sept. 10 and drew about 50,000 people, many of them wearing orange shirts and waving orange flags in an echo of the pro-democracy rallies in Ukraine last year.

In today’s globalized world, democracy requires support from without. The Bush administration’s “freedom agenda” is a praiseworthy step in this regard. It should, however, also be extended to illiberal countries that possess oil or host a NATO military base. Democratic turnover in the post-Soviet states is not Western imperialism by another name, as some would like us to believe. What they represent, rather, is a shift toward the rule of law, democracy and national reconciliation.

Azerbaijan presents the next opportunity for Western leaders to prove their commitment to the founding principles of their own nation-states. With time, this moral choice will prove to be a smart strategic choice as well.

In Freedom’s Century, no regime is legitimate unless consensual.


September 25, 2005

Why Kyoto will never succeed, by Blair (Patrick Hennessy and James Langton, 25/09/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Tony Blair has admitted that the fight to prevent global warming by ordering countries to cut greenhouse gases will never be won.

The Prime Minister said “no country is going to cut its growth or consumption” despite environmental fears.

Mr Blair’s comments, which he said were “brutally honest”, mark a big environmental U-turn and will dismay Labour activists. […]

His remarks, unreported at the time but now published in a transcript of the conference, are certain to spark wide-ranging criticism that he is again signing up to the agenda of President George W Bush. Under Mr Bush, the US has consistently refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty.

Wonder if he used the same shiv with which he dispatched the EU?


September 24, 2005

Mandelson extends olive branch on subsidies (James Kanter, 9/24/05, International Herald Tribune)

Europe will have to be prepared to curb subsidies to Airbus if a settlement is reached with the United States in the dispute over government aid to the aircraft maker and its chief rival, Boeing, the top European trade negotiator said Friday.

The candid warning from the European Union’s trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, to his own side signaled a desire to restart talks with Washington, even as a dueling lawsuits at the World Trade Organization inched forward Friday. […]

If talks do restart, “then European government funding will have to adapt to the outcome of those negotiations,” he added, referring to the millions in development loans provided to Airbus – aid that Washington insists be cut off.

Any settlement is preferable to ceding power to the WTO.


September 24, 2005

Whites Account for Most of Military’s Fatalities
: African Americans are 17% of the troops and were 9% of the dead, a study says. Hispanics, who are 9% of force, were 10% of those killed. (Tony Perry, September 24, 2005, LA Times)

The majority of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were young, white, enlisted personnel from active-duty units, according to a study released Friday by the federal Government Accountability Office.

The demographic study involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28.

Whites, who constitute 67% of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71% of the fatalities. African Americans are 17% of the overall force and were 9% of the fatalities. Hispanics are 9% of the force and were 10% of the fatalities.

George Bush isn’t Nat Forrest, he’s Nat Turner!


September 24, 2005

A Million Little Pieces (NADER MOUSAVIZADEH, 9/24/05, NY Times)

THE United Nations summit meeting last week should be the last of its kind. It allowed world leaders, once again, to over-promise and under-deliver on behalf of an organization that few of them genuinely wish to equip for success. With the failure of its member states to agree on meaningful reform – even after Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and the oil-for-food scandal – it is time for a new approach.

The central, governing structures of the United Nations – the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretariat – have each in their own dismal way been allowed to decay to the point where they arguably do more harm than good to the very causes they were founded to serve. They should be dissolved, and their legislative responsibilities transferred to the governing bodies of the United Nations agencies that have demonstrated a capacity to deliver, decade after decade, on the world body’s founding ideals – agencies like the High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Program and the World Food Program. From coordinating the global relief effort in the aftermath of the tsunami to providing shelter for refugees from southern Sudan and shepherding East Timor to independence, the staff of these frontline organizations have brought meaningful, measurable progress to millions around the world.

On their own, most, if not all, of the major United Nations agencies would stand a fair chance of earning the legitimacy, support and resources necessary to succeed. The United Nations Development Program is already financed by voluntary contributions. Its board is made up of donors and recipient countries – all with a powerful common incentive to sustain an organization that can fight poverty efficiently. Taking one step further toward the model of, say, the World Health Organization (which operates independent of United Nations governing structures, though it is part of the United Nations family) need not disrupt its operations nor damage its finances. To the contrary: freed from the management rules and practices still imposed by the General Assembly, the Development Program would be even more able to attract the right people and improve the lives of the poor.

Each of the United Nations funds and programs could be reconstituted on this stand-alone model: financed by voluntary contributions; governed by a board composed of shareholders with an interest in results, and not just process; and staffed by men and women, hired on the basis of merit, who are given the resources to make a difference. Accountability, transparency – and, ultimately, success – would have a far greater chance of flowing from such a model than from the present one.

The central problem of the UN/League of Nations has always been the delusion that some such central institution can/will eventually form the basis of world governance.


September 22, 2005

EU admits constitution is on ice (BBC, 9/22/05)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has acknowledged that the EU will not have a constitution for “at least two or three years”.

He said that the text was unlikely to be ratified in the near future, after French and Dutch voters rejected it.

However, Mr Barroso said this should not mean paralysis in Europe.

He said it was important to convince citizens of the relevance of the EU by creating jobs, improving security and protecting the environment.

So just scale it back to a trade federation with joint security services.


September 21, 2005

Does increasing democracy undercut terrorists? (Joseph S. Nye Jr., 9/22/05, CS Monitor)

Does increasing democracy diminish terrorism? Some analysts are skeptical. Violent extremists exist in nearly all societies. After all, the terrorist attacks in London were carried out by British citizens in one of the world’s oldest democracies. And Timothy McVeigh, an American citizen, carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. Moreover, skeptics argue that even if democracy might reduce terrorist recruitment, the Iraq war was the wrong means to promote democracy, and may have increased the recruitment of new terrorists.

To be fair, it is still too early to give a definitive answer to these questions. A historical assessment of the Iraq war and its effects on the Middle East will take a decade or more. The January Iraq election was a positive step for the region.

As Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader said, “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq.” Columnist David Brooks observed, “If there is one soft power gift that America does possess, it is the tendency to imagine new worlds.”

With the invasion of Iraq and his increased rhetoric of democracy, Mr. Bush transformed the status quo. […]

Democracy will not convert the current crop of extremist jihadis to peaceful change, and too rapid a transition may destabilize governments and enhance the extremists’ opportunities to wreak havoc. But over time, the slow, steady progress of democratization and freedom provides a sense of hope for the moderates.

Let’s put it this way, if it all were to end up going to heck in a handcart, no one would be able to say W didn’t give it our best shot. And if, instead, it continues to work? Well, then he’s a world historical figure.

No ‘Turning Back’ in Egypt (David Ignatius, September 21, 2005, Washington Post)

It’s hard to imagine Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a change agent. During the 24 years he has ruled this country, he has displayed a military man’s passion for stability and a corresponding wariness of democracy. His Egypt has often symbolized the political stasis of the Arab world.

But unlikely as it sounds, the 77-year-old Mubarak won reelection this month on a platform of political and economic reform. The fact that even the pharaonic Mubarak is running as a democrat illustrates the power of the reform movement in the Arab world today. The movement is potent because it’s coming from the Arab societies themselves and not just from democracy enthusiasts in Washington.

I can’t predict whether Mubarak will deliver on the promises he made during his campaign. I can see all the reasons why he should and all the reasons why he won’t. But what’s unmistakably clear in the aftermath of Egypt’s first semblance of a multi-candidate presidential election is that the country’s old authoritarian system has broken apart. I doubt Mubarak could put it back together even if he tried. […]

During several days of conversations here, I found people remarkably frank in their comments. Just as interesting, political activists across the spectrum described the situation in Egypt in similar terms. Though many see the one-sided election as a joke (Mubarak won with 88 percent of the vote), they all see Egypt as changing, and they all agree it will be hard to stop the momentum of change.


September 20, 2005

Annan has paid his dues: The UN declaration of a right to protect people from their governments is a millennial change (Ian Williams, September 20, 2005, The Guardian)

By the time John Bolton had hacked large parts out of the UN’s 60th anniversary draft declaration, and then had to agree to much of it going back in after Condoleezza Rice told him to be nice to US allies, it was no surprise that some observers saw the result as a smack in the face for Kofi Annan.

In fact, Annan scored a major triumph, a positive answer to the question he posed at the millennium summit five years ago: “If humanitarian intervention is indeed an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common humanity?”

In the final declaration last week 191 countries, including Sudan and North Korea, went along with a restatement of international law: that the world community has the right to take military action in the case of “national authorities manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. It comes too late to help Darfur, not to mention Rwanda and Cambodia, but it is a millennial change.

Tony Blair, whose speech did not mention the crucial millennium development goals in case it upset his friend President Bush, welcomed the new development: “For the first time at this summit we are agreed that states do not have the right to do what they will within their own borders.” […]

[T]he egg of “national sovereignty”, beloved of American conservatives and Korean communists alike, is now thoroughly shattered and cannot be put together again.

And good riddance. Folks have expressed some curiosity at the fact that an essay by Mr. Annan is included in our forthcoming book, but he’s an excellent representative of the idea of humanitarian intervention as a legitimate trump of national sovereignty.

Mr. Williams is quite right that traditional sovereignty will never be put back together again–the question now is what will replace it. The two main contenders are the notion of transnationalism–whereby central laws, institutions and bureaucracies would have powers transcending sovereignty such that they would be entitled to govern many nations irrespective of the consent of the peoples affected–or a standard of liberal democratic legitimacy–which would judge each nation’s entitlement to its own sovereignty by its conformity to the values we’ve determined mark the End of History: a society premised on human dignity and organized roughly around democracy, protestantism and capitalism. Though American sovereignty is threatened by the former–in everything from the WTO to Kyoto to the Supreme Court’s invocation of foreign precedent–we are the main proponents of the latter and have been throughout our history, though we’ve pursued the end only intermittently. The only real change in recent years is that Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been more open about America’s historic role as democracy’s evangelist.


September 14, 2005

President Addresses United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting (George W. Bush, United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York, 9/14/05)

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for the privilege of being here for the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. Thank you for your dedication to the vital work and great ideals of this institution.

We meet at a time of great challenge for America and the world. At this moment, men and women along my country’s Gulf Coast are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in American history. Many have lost homes, and loved ones, and all their earthly possessions. In Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana, whole neighborhoods have been lifted from their foundations and sent crashing into the streets. A great American city is working to turn the flood waters and reclaim its future.

We have witnessed the awesome power of nature — and the greater power of human compassion. Americans have responded to their neighbors in need, and so have many of the nations represented in this chamber. All together, more than 115 countries and nearly a dozen international organizations have stepped forward with offers of assistance. To every nation, every province, and every community across the world that is standing with the American people in this hour of need, I offer the thanks of my nation.

Your response, like the response to last year’s tsunami, has shown once again that the world is more compassionate and hopeful when we act together. This truth was the inspiration for the United Nations. The U.N.’s founding members laid out great and honorable goals in the charter they drafted six decades ago. That document commits this organization to work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” and “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” We remain committed to those noble ideals. As we respond to great humanitarian needs, we must actively respond to the other great challenges of our time. We must continue to work to ease suffering, and to spread freedom, and to lay the foundations of lasting peace for our children and grandchildren.

In this young century, the far corners of the world are linked more closely than ever before — and no nation can remain isolated and indifferent to the struggles of others. When a country, or a region is filled with despair, and resentment and vulnerable to violent and aggressive ideologies, the threat passes easily across oceans and borders, and could threaten the security of any peaceful country.

Terrorism fed by anger and despair has come to Tunisia, to Indonesia, to Kenya, to Tanzania, to Morocco, to Israel, to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, to Turkey, to Spain, to Russia, to Egypt, to Iraq, and the United Kingdom. And those who have not seen attacks on their own soil have still shared in the sorrow — from Australians killed in Bali, to Italians killed in Egypt, to the citizens of dozens of nations who were killed on September the 11th, 2001, here in the city where we meet. The lesson is clear: There can be no safety in looking away, or seeking the quiet life by ignoring the hardship and oppression of others. Either hope will spread, or violence will spread — and we must take the side of hope.

Sometimes our security will require confronting threats directly, and so a great coalition of nations has come together to fight the terrorists across the world. We’ve worked together to help break up terrorist networks that cross borders, and rout out radical cells within our own borders. We’ve eliminated terrorist sanctuaries. We’re using our diplomatic and financial tools to cut off their financing and drain them of support. And as we fight, the terrorists must know that the world stands united against them. We must complete the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will put every nation on record: The targeting and deliberate killing by terrorists of civilians and non-combatants cannot be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance.

And the world’s free nations are determined to stop the terrorists and their allies from acquiring the terrible weapons that would allow them to kill on a scale equal to their hatred. For that reason, more than 60 countries are supporting the Proliferation Security Initiative to intercept shipments of weapons of mass destruction on land, on sea, and in air. The terrorists must know that wherever they go, they cannot escape justice.

Later today, the Security Council has an opportunity to put the terrorists on notice when it votes on a resolution that condemns the incitement of terrorist acts — the resolution that calls upon all states to take appropriate steps to end such incitement. We also need to sign and implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, so that all those who seek radioactive materials or nuclear devices are prosecuted and extradited, wherever they are. We must send a clear message to the rulers of outlaw regimes that sponsor terror and pursue weapons of mass murder: You will not be allowed to threaten the peace and stability of the world.

Confronting our enemies is essential, and so civilized nations will continue to take the fight to the terrorists. Yet we know that this war will not be won by force of arms alone. We must defeat the terrorists on the battlefield, and we must also defeat them in the battle of ideas. We must change the conditions that allow terrorists to flourish and recruit, by spreading the hope of freedom to millions who’ve never known it. We must help raise up the failing states and stagnant societies that provide fertile ground for the terrorists. We must defend and extend a vision of human dignity, and opportunity, and prosperity — a vision far stronger than the dark appeal of resentment and murder.

To spread a vision of hope, the United States is determined to help nations that are struggling with poverty. We are committed to the Millennium Development goals. This is an ambitious agenda that includes cutting poverty and hunger in half, ensuring that every boy and girl in the world has access to primary education, and halting the spread of AIDS — all by 2015.

We have a moral obligation to help others — and a moral duty to make sure our actions are effective. At Monterrey in 2002, we agreed to a new vision for the way we fight poverty, and curb corruption, and provide aid in this new millennium. Developing countries agreed to take responsibility for their own economic progress through good governance and sound policies and the rule of law. Developed countries agreed to support those efforts, including increased aid to nations that undertake necessary reforms. My own country has sought to implement the Monterrey Consensus by establishing the new Millennium Challenge Account. This account is increasing U.S. aid for countries that govern justly, invest in their people, and promote economic freedom.

More needs to be done. I call on all the world’s nations to implement the Monterrey Consensus. Implementing the Monterrey Consensus means continuing on the long, hard road to reform. Implementing the Monterrey Consensus means creating a genuine partnership between developed and developing countries to replace the donor-client relationship of the past. And implementing the Monterrey Consensus means welcoming all developing countries as full participants to the global economy, with all the requisite benefits and responsibilities.

Tying aid to reform is essential to eliminating poverty, but our work doesn’t end there. For many countries, AIDS, malaria, and other diseases are both humanitarian tragedies and significant obstacles to development. We must give poor countries access to the emergency lifesaving drugs they need to fight these infectious epidemics. Through our bilateral programs and the Global Fund, the United States will continue to lead the world in providing the resources to defeat the plague of HIV-AIDS.

Today America is working with local authorities and organizations in the largest initiative in history to combat a specific disease. Across Africa, we’re helping local health officials expand AIDS testing facilities, train and support doctors and nurses and counselors, and upgrade clinics and hospitals. Working with our African partners, we have now delivered lifesaving treatment to more than 230,000 people in sub-Sahara Africa. We are ahead of schedule to meet an important objective: providing HIV-AIDS treatment for nearly two million adults and children in Africa. At the G-8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, we set a clear goal: an AIDS-free generation in Africa. And I challenge every member of the United Nations to take concrete steps to achieve that goal.

We’re also working to fight malaria. This preventable disease kills more than a million people around the world every year — and leaves poverty and grief in every land it touches. The United States has set a goal of cutting the malaria death rate in half in at least 15 highly endemic African countries. To achieve that goal, we’ve pledged to increase our funding for malaria treatment and prevention by more than $1.2 billion over the next five years. We invite other nations to join us in this effort by committing specific aid to the dozens of other African nations in need of it. Together we can fight malaria and save hundreds of thousands of lives, and bring new hope to countries that have been devastated by this terrible disease.

As we strengthen our commitments to fighting malaria and AIDS, we must also remain on the offensive against new threats to public health such as the Avian Influenza. If left unchallenged, this virus could become the first pandemic of the 21st century. We must not allow that to happen. Today I am announcing a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The Partnership requires countries that face an outbreak to immediately share information and provide samples to the World Health Organization. By requiring transparency, we can respond more rapidly to dangerous outbreaks and stop them on time. Many nations have already joined this partnership; we invite all nations to participate. It’s essential we work together, and as we do so, we will fulfill a moral duty to protect our citizens, and heal the sick, and comfort the afflicted.

Even with increased aid to fight disease and reform economies, many nations are held back by another heavy challenge: the burden of debt. So America and many nations have also acted to lift this burden that limits the growth of developing economies, and holds millions of people in poverty. Today poor countries with the heaviest debt burdens are receiving more than $30 billion in debt relief. And to prevent the build-up of future debt, my country and other nations have agreed that international financial institutions should increasingly provide new aid in the form of grants, rather than loans. The G-8 agreed at Gleneagles to go further. To break the lend-and-forgive cycle permanently, we agreed to cancel 100 percent of the debt for the world’s most heavily indebted nations. I call upon the World Bank and the IMF to finalize this historic agreement as soon as possible.

We will fight to lift the burden of poverty from places of suffering — not just for the moment, but permanently. And the surest path to greater wealth is greater trade. In a letter he wrote to me in August, the Secretary General commended the G-8’s work, but told me that aid and debt relief are not enough. The Secretary General said that we also need to reduce trade barriers and subsidies that are holding developing countries back. I agree with the Secretary General: The Doha Round is “the most promising way” to achieve this goal.

A successful Doha Round will reduce and eliminate tariffs and other barriers on farm and industrial goods. It will end unfair agricultural subsidies. It will open up global markets for services. Under Doha, every nation will gain, and the developing world stands to gain the most. Historically, developing nations that open themselves up to trade grow at several times the rate of other countries. The elimination of trade barriers could lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the next 15 years. The stakes are high. The lives and futures of millions of the world’s poorest citizens hang in the balance — and so we must bring the Doha trade talks to a successful conclusion.

Doha is an important step toward a larger goal: We must tear down the walls that separate the developed and developing worlds. We need to give the citizens of the poorest nations the same ability to access the world economy that the people of wealthy nations have, so they can offer their goods and talents on the world market alongside everyone else. We need to ensure that they have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams, provide for their families, and live lives of dignity and self-reliance.

And the greatest obstacles to achieving these goals are the tariffs and subsidies and barriers that isolate people of developing nations from the great opportunities of the 21st century. Today, I reiterate the challenge I have made before: We must work together in the Doha negotiations to eliminate agricultural subsidies that distort trade and stunt development, and to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to open markets for farmers around the world. Today I broaden the challenge by making this pledge: The United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to free flow of goods and services as other nations do the same. This is key to overcoming poverty in the world’s poorest nations. It’s essential we promote prosperity and opportunity for all nations.

By expanding trade, we spread hope and opportunity to the corners of the world, and we strike a blow against the terrorists who feed on anger and resentment. Our agenda for freer trade is part of our agenda for a freer world, where people can live and worship and raise their children as they choose. In the long run, the best way to protect the religious freedom, and the rights of women and minorities, is through institutions of self-rule, which allow people to assert and defend their own rights. All who stand for human rights must also stand for human freedom.

This is a moment of great opportunity in the cause of freedom. Across the world, hearts and minds are opening to the message of human liberty as never before. In the last two years alone, tens of millions have voted in free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, in Kyrgyzstan, in Ukraine, and Georgia. And as they claim their freedom, they are inspiring millions more across the broader Middle East. We must encourage their aspirations. We must nurture freedom’s progress. And the United Nations has a vital role to play.

Through the new U.N. Democracy Fund, the democratic members of the U.N. will work to help others who want to join the democratic world. It is fitting that the world’s largest democracy, India, has taken a leadership role in this effort, pledging $10 million to get the fund started. Every free nation has an interest in the success of this fund — and every free nation has a responsibility in advancing the cause of liberty.

The work of democracy is larger than holding a fair election; it requires building the institutions that sustain freedom. Democracy takes different forms in different cultures, yet all free societies have certain things in common. Democratic nations uphold the rule of law, impose limits on the power of the state, treat women and minorities as full citizens. Democratic nations protect private property, free speech and religious expression. Democratic nations grow in strength because they reward and respect the creative gifts of their people. And democratic nations contribute to peace and stability because they seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, not the conquest of their neighbors.

For these reasons, the whole world has a vital interest in the success of a free Iraq — and no civilized nation has an interest in seeing a new terror state emerge in that country. So the free world is working together to help the Iraqi people to establish a new nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. It’s an exciting opportunity for all of us in this chamber. And the United Nations has played a vital role in the success of the January elections, where eight and a half million Iraqis defied the terrorists and cast their ballots. And since then, the United Nations has supported Iraq’s elected leaders as they drafted a new constitution.

The United Nations and its member states must continue to stand by the Iraqi people as they complete the journey to a fully constitutional government. And when Iraqis complete their journey, their success will inspire others to claim their freedom, the Middle East will grow in peace and hope and liberty, and all of us will live in a safer world.

The advance of freedom and security is the calling of our time. It is the mission of the United Nations. The United Nations was created to spread the hope of liberty, and to fight poverty and disease, and to help secure human rights and human dignity for all the world’s people. To help make these promises real, the United Nations must be strong and efficient, free of corruption, and accountable to the people it serves. The United Nations must stand for integrity, and live by the high standards it sets for others. And meaningful institutional reforms must include measures to improve internal oversight, identify cost savings, and ensure that precious resources are used for their intended purpose.

The United Nations has taken the first steps toward reform. The process will continue in the General Assembly this fall, and the United States will join with others to lead the effort. And the process of reform begins with members taking our responsibilities seriously. When this great institution’s member states choose notorious abusers of human rights to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, they discredit a noble effort, and undermine the credibility of the whole organization. If member countries want the United Nations to be respected — respected and effective, they should begin by making sure it is worthy of respect.

At the start of a new century, the world needs the United Nations to live up to its ideals and fulfill its mission. The founding members of this organization knew that the security of the world would increasingly depend on advancing the rights of mankind, and this would require the work of many hands. After committing America to the idea of the U.N. in 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt declared: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation.” Peace is the responsibility of every nation and every generation.

In each era of history, the human spirit has been challenged by the forces of darkness and chaos. Some challenges are the acts of nature; others are the works of men. This organization was convened to meet these challenges by harnessing the best instincts of humankind, the strength of the world united in common purpose. With courage and conscience, we will meet our responsibilities to protect the lives and rights of others. And when we do, we will help fulfill the promise of the United Nations, and ensure that every human being enjoys the peace and the freedom and the dignity our Creator intended for all.

Thank you.