Smart Power: UN General Assembly Kicks Off in New York City

Posted: Sep 23, 2013 12:30 PM

Newly minted US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is in New York City today for the UN General Assembly meeting. Her most important task? Negotiating a resolution on Syria with Russia.

Nearly a year before the world woke up to images of Syrians dying in a chemical weapons attack, Samantha Power was quietly pushing US President Barack Obama for a military strike to stop the "grotesque tactics" of President Bashar al-Assad. For a fleeting moment this month, it seemed she had prevailed.

Now Power, a former senior aide on the US National Security Council and a former war reporter born in Ireland, must negotiate for peace in a new public role as Obama's ambassador to the UN. The president's abrupt decision not to use force in Syria has thrust her into the middle of talks to create a UN Security Council resolution mandating the elimination of Assad's chemical arsenal by the middle of next year.

Even her supporters wonder if she will be tough enough. US Secretary of State John Kerry will work with her on the resolution, but her performance - in her first weeks on the job - will help to determine America's future course in Syria.

As a reminder, during the height of the tension with Syria, Power missed an emergency meeting at the UN to deal with the crisis because she was on vacation after just 19 days on the job. In addition, Power believed the Iranians would back the US with revelations the Assad regime used chemical weapons. She was wrong.

President Obama is also in New York for high stakes meetings and will speak to the assembly tomorrow. It is rumored he might meet with Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani. Luckily, this year we won't have to listen to anti-Israeli rants from former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Speaking of Israel, on the Palestinean-Isreali peace front, things aren't looking positive. Over the weekend, two Israeli soldiers were killed in the West bank. In addition, Iran is moving forward with their nuclear program.

From last year:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just wrapped up his remarks at the 2012 United Nations General Assembly in New York City which included literally drawing a red line for Iran, showing the world the status of Iran’s nuclear program and pointing out the dangers of radical Jihad. Netanyahu also solidified, once again, Israel’s right to exist.

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