Mark P. Lagon: The United Nations and Democracy
The United Nations and Democracy
Dr. Mark P. Lagon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs
Lecture for the Institute of International Law and Politics, Georgetown
November 15, 2005
Good evening. It is a special pleasure to speak here as a product of Georgetown's doctoral program in Government and as a former full-time and adjunct professor of Government and Security Studies. Georgetown's commitment to the normative side of scholarly work has informed my professional life immensely. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you tonight. Thank you, Professor Arend, for inviting me to this forum of the Institute for International Law and Politics.
I wanted to address the relationship between two important things in United States foreign policy, and as it happens, in my line of work: democracy and the United Nations.
First of all, promoting democracy and working with democracies is the challenge of our time. It is the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy -- whether in the global struggle against extremist ideologies, or any aspect of conflict resolution or efficacious economic development.
Secondly, the United States as the preeminent power in the world is often confronted with problems and opportunities of multilateral leadership. These often leave the United States accused of unilateralism. The most prominent venue for multilateral policy is the United Nations system, as the broadest set of institutions of universal scope.
What do these two things -- democracy and the United Nations -- have to do with one another? Or more precisely: what can the United Nations do for democracy and the world's democracies, and, conversely, what can democracy and the world's democracies do for the United Nations?
The UN's Role in the Effort to Promote Democracy
Let me begin with the first of those questions: The United States wants the United Nations to assume a more active and prominent role in the promotion of democracy around the world.
In trying to implement our vision of democracy, we frequently receive criticism about the aim of the United States to utilize the United Nations to fulfill our own foreign policy goals. We actually agree this is our aim, but we neither consider it to be a criticism nor do we feel others should characterize it as such. After all, why would we be such an active participant in the work of the United Nations if we did not see the United Nations as part of our larger strategy to achieve our foreign policy goals? Especially when those foreign policy goals are wholly consistent with a decent and stable world order, and with positive-sum gains by other UN Member States.
The National Security Strategy issued on September 17, 2002, often associated with the "preemptive" use of force because of a short passage in it, was arguably focused most on "extend[ing] the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent," because "freedom is the non-negotiable demand of human dignity; the birthright of every person -- in every civilization." This was entirely consistent with longstanding tradition in American foreign policy.
As Tony Smith of Tufts University writes in the preeminent book on the subject, aptly titled America's Mission, "The American idea of a world order opposed to imperialism and composed of independent, self-determinating, preferably democratic states bound together through international organizations dedicated to the peaceful handling of conflicts, free trade, and mutual defense has been with us in mature form since the early 1940s."
In fact, Smith continues to say that, " the ingredients of this worldview had been put in place during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), and its origins in American history lie even further back." Smith brings to light great leaders as Thomas Jefferson, who had been the "first to insist that a peaceful world order in which America could fully participate needed to be one constituted by democratic states."
And the 2002 National Security Strategy was also entirely consistent with the National Security Strategy documents of the Clinton Administration, which focused on a doctrine of the "enlargement" of the realm of democratic states, a doctrine embodied in the policy of enlarging NATO.
But in the wake of September 11, the Bush Administration sought to, in the words of the television cook, Emeril Lagasse, "kick it up a notch" from the Clinton "enlargement" doctrine.
As so it did. The President expanded on these principles in his November 6, 2003, address to the National Endowment for Democracy. "The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country...And we believe that freedom -- the freedom we prize -- is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind."
The President, in his Second Inaugural address, deepened and reaffirmed a steadfast policy to promote democracy worldwide in his declaration that "it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
Secretary Rice, on each continent, in each capital she visits, has made promotion of freedom and democratic institutions central to her agenda. In public speeches and private meetings, she has made clear the U.S. government's firm commitment to democracy and the need to pursue "transformational diplomacy." We do not simply accept the world as it is today. Accordingly, the Secretary has called on each of us to be activists, to have a vision of a free world, and to partner with those who themselves are trying to foster democratic change. It is only logical that we would take that message to the United Nations as well.
Some have suggested this policy is the antithesis of realism, where one must accept governments as they are and seek to cultivate an overlap of interests with them. Even some officials in past Republican Administrations. Yet, promoting democracy is the most realistic policy possible, because it is the system of government most consistent with peace and prosperity. Democratic governments do not go to war with each other -- as thinkers from Immanuel Kant to Bruce Russett and Michael Doyle have observed. (Doyle, one should note, was a senior adviser to Secretary-General Annan for a stint.) This is the most demonstrably scientific finding in political science, and in its international relations field in particular.
Moreover, democracy facilitates economic growth and liberalization through choice, opportunity, transparency, and predictable rule of law. We should not see democracy as the only the outgrowth of economic liberalization and development -- whereby capitalism is seen as the universal solvent of all autocracy -- but indeed as a crucial enabler of economic prosperity. For that very reason, the Bush Administration initiative of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is in effect a merit scholarship program for the developing world, makes one of its major criteria for awarding aid whether nations rule justly -- democratically and liberally -- because it helps nations prosper economically.
We think it is entirely appropriate that the United States looks to the United Nations as a resource and a tool to carry out President Bush's larger aim to strengthen democracy worldwide.
The United Nations has several excellent mechanisms for promoting democracy, such as the Electoral Assistance Division in the UN Secretariat's Department of Political Affairs and the UN Development Program (UNDP), which carry out important activities such as election monitoring, rule of law, and democratic governance programs. The Electoral Assistance Division has done superb work worldwide in election monitoring and training, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the UN's agency for poverty-alleviation and development, UNDP has revolutionized its work by focusing on rule of law, transparency, and capacity building for accountable governance. But we believe there is a need for a more focused role for the UN in promoting democracy.
The Democracy Fund
Thus, in 2004, President Bush proposed the idea of a UN Democracy Fund. Now operational, it will provide grants to civil society, governments, and international organizations in order to carry out programs that strengthen democracy. President Bush, Indian Prime Minister Singh, and Secretary-General Annan co-hosted a meeting of potential donors and recipients of the newly-launched fund on the first day of the UN World Summit on September 14, 2005. In attendance were the heads of state or government of: Australia, Cape Verde, Chile, Czech Republic, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kyrgystan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, and the United States. So far, 15 countries have voluntarily pledged over $43 million to the Democracy Fund.
Remarkable as it sounds, the Democracy Fund is the first UN fund whose SOLE purpose is to support democracy-strengthening programs, and the only UN entity with "democracy" explicitly in its nomenclature. Its funding derives from voluntary contributions and not the regular budget assessments of the entire UN membership. Its grant-making depends on decision-making by its major donors, other governments involved in democracy-promotion, and NGOs. That's necessary because of the nature of the UN today, but I'll return to that when I later address what democracy and democracies can do for the UN.
The United States was inspired to work with the UN Secretary-General to create this Fund, because we can see that freedom's call is resonating with more and more people around the world. Even a cursory glance at the global headlines of the past two years shows that these principles have moved from dream to reality for many citizens. From Georgia to Ukraine to Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan, the cynicism of skeptics and the oppression of autocrats have been answered by peaceful protests, ballot boxes, and constitution drafts.
We are excited to have a new UN mechanism to support civil society activities to bring about this kind of change. The Bush Administration sees this as a place the Democracy Fund can add value aiding NGOs to build civil society in states transitioning to and consolidating democracy. The UN has recognized the vital role of civil society, such as in the UN Commission headed by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardozo, but it needs to follow through. This Fund will do so. This is one reason the U.S. proposed and the Secretary-General accepted the idea of placing the seat of the Fund within an organ called the UN Fund for International Partnerships. UNFIP, as it is called, was created to channel philanthropic contributions of Ted Turner's UN Foundation into programs of the UN, and later funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has experience working with non-governmental organizations as funders and fund-recipients, and will help administer the grant reviews and disbursement for the new Democracy Fund to bolster civil society in fledgling democracies.
Also, it is understandable that, in this process, emerging democracies will look to the UN for help. The UN was founded on democratic principles. Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself has said that, "the founders of the United Nations knew that no foundation of peace would be sturdier than democratic government."
Democracy Wrongly Understood in the UN
And now I turn to the second of the two questions I initially posed: what can democracy and democracies do for the United Nations? Some discuss democracy in the United Nations in terms of its internal working methods. At the United Nations, one nation gets one vote. It doesn't matter how big or small it is, or how many or how few programs its financial contributions underwrite. This is called by some "democratic." Actually it represents "universality," which arguably serves a purpose of putting all established governments on equal footing in an all-inclusive diplomatic forum at the UN.
This voting model presents tremendous challenges to the United Nations, and calls into question the democratic practices of the UN. In too many cases, the government doing the voting is NOT democratically elected, and therefore does not necessarily represent the interests of its citizens. Many governments which do not represent the consent of the governed have an equal voice to those which do.
We find it hard to believe, for example, that the people of Iran would not want the reforms that an annual UN General Assembly resolution on Iran calls to implement. For example, the General Assembly resolution calls on Iran "To expedite judicial reform, to guarantee the dignity of the individual and to ensure the full application of due process of law and fair and transparent procedures by an independent and impartial judiciary". Amazingly enough, this resolution has proven highly controversial within the General Assembly membership and demands tremendous lobbying resources just to make sure it passes.
Even more apt, we find it hard to believe that people in most countries around the world would have objected to the UN General Assembly passing a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Sudan in 2004. However, the General Assembly voted not to even consider such a resolution, blocking it with a so-called "no-action" procedural motion.
It is important to think of the UN as a legislature at times a legislature from hell but a legislature, nonetheless. While countries seem to build coalitions and caucuses along nearly every conceivable area of commonality, from traditional regional blocs to the Non-Aligned Movement to the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Arab Group, the democracies of the UN have not been particularly effective at coalition-building.
Cracks in the Democracy Network
Democracies themselves have different visions about what the UN should be doing. The nature of UN Member States and their attitude toward the UN and its involvement in human rights fall into three categories. First, there are countries that believe the United Nations has an important role in applying pressure to states to remind them of their international human rights obligations, and through a combination of dialogue, assistance, and cooperation, to help states meet these obligations. Traditional Western democracies, such as the U.S., Western Europe, Canada, and Australia, fall into this category.
In the second group are countries that see a role for the UN in calling upon states to scrutinize each other's behavior, but that are much less forward-leaning about this role, mostly because they are concerned that the UN could criticize their own behavior. Thus, they defend their neighbors and seek strength from unified positions of a regional or ideological group, such as the Non-Aligned Movement. Here is where we encounter difficulty with good countries, strong democracies, allies, and friends - countries who, in theory, support the idea that the UN needs to play a stronger role in promoting human rights, but lack the political will in practice to take strong positions.
The third category of countries is those that seek to undermine the UN's human rights machinery. It is no surprise that countries like Cuba, China, and Russia are largely outspoken in their opposition to reform of the Commission on Human Rights. These countries are constantly at risk of being under the Commission's scrutiny. The world's worst human rights violators recognize that the Commission lacks credibility and is only marginally effective. They would prefer to take their chances of scrutiny by an ineffective and hobbled mechanism, rather than to create a body with increased prestige, authority, and even the possibility of excluding them altogether.
Our challenge now is reconciling the beliefs of these three categories of countries. Or perhaps I should say that our real job is reconciling the views of the first two groups, in order to deal more effectively with the final group. We owe it to those who yearn for their freedom in Iran, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Sudan, North Korea, and elsewhere, that hope and history are on their side.
Around the world, in Africa, Latin America, and Asia in particular, we are seeing a disconnect among democracies regarding effective UN human rights machinery. Non-democratic states like Cuba and China have led a vocal and well-orchestrated campaign to steer institutions, such as the Commission on Human Rights, away from passing resolutions that condemn serious human rights violations in an individual country. It is no coincidence that for the greater part of the past decade, both China and Cuba have confronted the possibility, and sometimes the reality, of resolutions being passed against them. As a result, these countries, often joined by others in a cryptically-named Like-Minded Group that includes Syria, Zimbabwe, and Sudan, have made it their mission to target country-specific resolutions as selective and politicized, labeling the Commission on Human Rights a tribunal of richer countries against poorer countries.
Many democracies, but especially developing-world democracies, have internalized this message that criticizing a country for its poor human rights practices is somehow equated with selling-out to the United States, or more generally, the "West". They feel that instead of criticism, the United Nations should focus on cooperation and assistance in reaching human rights goals. But note that they don't feel this way when it comes to criticizing Israel.
At the same time that some countries press to do away with country-specific resolutions entirely, they contradictorily support those targeted at Israel at the Commission on Human Rights and in the UN General Assembly. And it is not just one resolution. In fact, Israel is annually the subject of three or more human rights resolutions in each of the fore-mentioned bodies. At the Commission on Human Rights, there is an entire agenda item devoted specifically to Israel. And yet, while with one hand the UN has voted "no" within the last two years to even having a substantive debate on proposed resolutions on the human rights abuses of Zimbabwe, China, Sudan and Belarus, with the other hand, it has voted "yes" on multiple resolutions that condemn and criticize Israel.
Without fail, these resolutions are repetitive and unbalanced, placing demands on one side in the Middle East conflict while failing to acknowledge that genuine progress toward realizing the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security, requires that both sides take steps toward that goal. The United States strongly believes that one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions undermine the credibility of the United Nations.
These dynamics -- the trend against meaningful resolutions, regional bloc voting, and a de-linking of the UN human rights machinery from the protection of essential political and civil rights -- have rendered the UN's premiere human rights body -- the Commission on Human Rights -- beyond repair.
The Commission on Human Rights: Beyond Repair
If the United States seeks to rally the more unified support of democracies to improve the human rights machinery of the UN, we must look first to the primary body in the UN system in this area. The United States believes that the 53-member Human Rights Commission is beyond repair. The UN Secretary-General himself noted before the body in April 2005 that, " the Commission's capacity to perform its tasks has been increasingly undermined by its declining credibility and professionalism. In particular, States have sought membership on the Commission not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others. As a result, a credibility deficit has developed, which casts a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole."
In 2002, UN Member States voted the United States off the Commission on Human Rights. In 2003, they elected Libya as the Commission's Chair. In 2004, they voted Sudan onto the Commission for a second consecutive term, in the midst of the genocide in the Western Darfur region, and in 2005, they elected Zimbabwe in the midst of allegations of widespread election fraud. Clearly, there is something amiss in the way UN Member States look at the UN's role in protecting human rights.
Let me turn briefly to Sudan as a case study of the failings of the UN human rights machinery. In the spring of 2004, the Commission on Human Rights passed a very weak resolution on Sudan. The U.S. sought to revise and replace the text, but it simply was not strong enough with regard to the atrocities taking place in Darfur, and ultimately we opposed the resolution. A few days later, Sudan was reelected to the Commission on Human Rights. When Sudan was reelected, the U.S. delegation reproached the body by walking out of the meeting and issuing a public, very critical, statement.
Although we believe that the Human Rights Commission is so flawed that it is beyond repair, the U.S. certainly has not given up advocacy for human rights within the UN. The Department of State remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of democracy and human rights. We see it as the calling of our time. As Secretary Rice has said, "The survival of liberty in our land is dependent on the growth of liberty in other lands."
This is why the United States seeks the creation of a Human Rights Council to replace the dysfunctional Commission on Human Rights, with a mandate to help countries fulfil their human rights obligations. We believe that the Council's mandate should include the ability to draw the world's attention to urgent or continuous human rights violations. The Council should have the power to deploy human rights monitors and investigators to the field in order to put pressure on governments and remind them that the world is aware of their actions, and also to send a message of political solidarity to the victims of abuses.
Further, we support a membership for this new Council which is more credible and committed to human rights than that of the Commission. It is inappropriate for countries lacking the will to protect the human rights of their own people to be making decisions about human rights in the rest of the world. It may not be a pure club of democracies, but the election procedures must winnow the critical mass of audacious autocracies and spoiler states that exist in the broken Commission in the new institution.
Our task now is to build consensus among countries that share these values and to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a functional, credible, and effective body. I am coordinating the U.S. government's effort to do so.
The Responsibilities of Democracies
We cannot accomplish the establishment of a strong Human Rights Council alone. The onus rests on the UN's democratic Member States. We democracies have to take democracy promotion more seriously.
Why? Because we share more than a form of government accountable to the people. We share a vision and an experience of people free, prosperous, and secure. We share strong commitments to human rights, the rule of law, and development. We are reminded of these common values by many of our allies in Central Europe, who have a not-so-distant memory of what it means to live under dictatorship.
We know what works, and what doesn't. We know that being "free from" tyranny is good. But being "free from" is not a compass for the future. We must be "free for" something -- free for fulfilling our potential, and free for helping others do the same. Islamic radicals hope to convert the Muslim world by denigrating our values as immoral, shallow, and hypocritical. In other words, they are trying to offer an alternative world vision that they think is superior to ours. As wrong as we may think they are, we underestimate them at our peril if we do not realize that behind their terrorist deeds is an ideology intended to convert people to a cause.
Once again in an area of consistency with the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration has helped carry forward the idea of a Community of Democracies. This forum of the world's democratic states has convened ministerial-level meeting in Warsaw, Poland, in 2000; Seoul, South Korea, in 2002; Santiago, Chile, in 2005; and will do so again in Bamako, Mali, in 2007. The Community of Democracies is building a caucus in the UN in New York and Geneva, a Democracy Caucus. This Democracy Caucus has cosponsored resolutions on elections and democratic capacity-building. It is rallying around the UN Democracy Fund as a programmatic project, not just the hortatory work of resolutions -- which are often the equivalent of Sense of Congress resolutions. And, as I will address a bit later, it is even lending support to replacing the utterly dysfunctional UN Commission on Human Rights with a worthy successor body.
Mali as the current chair of the Democracy Caucus has been offering impressive leadership in setting an agenda for this new grouping in New York. Many have endorsed a Democracy Caucus as an instrument to advance democracy and world order in the UN. These include Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Joseph Biden, who have sponsored legislation calling for such a Caucus, and a number of scholars such as Lee Feinstein of the Council on Foreign Relations
As a network of democracies we must re-dedicate ourselves to a deeper understanding of our own political culture. We need a renaissance of the principles of democracy, freedom, and human rights -- understanding both their philosophical and religious roots. As Secretary-General Annan said on June 27, 2000, in Warsaw, "When the United Nations can truly call itself a community of democracies, the Charter's noble ideals of protecting human rights and promoting 'social progress in larger freedoms' will have been brought much closer. When the founders of the United Nations met in San Francisco more than half a century ago, they knew that no foundation of peace would be sturdier than democratic government."
If you go back to the beginning of the United Nations in the late 1940s, you discover a very interesting thing. Democracy, freedom, and human rights are the principles upon which the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights were based. Democratic Member States today would do well to remember this. They would do well to champion these key principles at the UN. The nations which have rule of law at home have a special responsibility for building meaningful rule of law internationally. For the United Nations to realize its founding vision and intended purposes, the democracies must rise to the occasion.
Our Special Relationship: The European Union
A Democracy Caucus might best be seen as a set of concentric circles. At the center of the enterprise, truth be told, must be the partnership between the United States and the European Union. Latin America adds vigor to the Democracy Caucus. The so-called JUSCANZ (Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) does too. So do such nations as South Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Cape Verde, South Africa, Mali -- all leaders in the Community of Democracies. But especially with the vigor added by its newest members who cherish their post-Cold War freedom, in so many ways, we look to the support, partnership, and friendship of the European Union. The EU and the United States share similar philosophies about the role of the United Nations -- namely that the UN should be used proactively as a tool to strengthen human rights and democracy. As the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, Anne-Marie Slaughter, said in 2003, "The U.S. and the EU should work . . .to create a caucus of liberal democracies open to all UN members meeting specified criteria and willing to work toward common goals."
And yet, despite our similarities, there are many times that we struggle with the European Union over human rights issues. For example, the Europeans strenuously object to the practice of the death penalty. Furthermore, Europe supports the universal ratification Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court. We manage these differences with lots of face-to-face consultations. And they bear fruit, like when the U.S. did not veto UN Security Council Resolution 1593 referring atrocities committed in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, despite U.S. concerns about how the Court is constituted.
Robert Kagan begins his highly suggestive long essay, "Of Paradise and Power" by observing wryly that " on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: They agree on little and understand one another less and less." Let me offer a version of Kagan's vision, explaining our differences based on a common premise interpreted differently on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Both the Europeans and the United States are in effect Wilsonian in believing in democratic peace. The U.S. believes that democratic peace should be achieved by promoting democracy in autocratic states, and in the meantime remaining tough in diplomacy with those autocracies. This explains our focus on the ultimate liberalization of the governments of Iran and North Korea, and our finite trust in those governments' good faith in multilateral negotiative processes over their nuclear programs.
The Europeans, on the other hand, believe that democratic peace has already been achieved, and it has in the European Union. They believe in the power of peace processes even with pretty unreconstructed, malevolent states. That said, it is peculiar that the Europeans' way of moving toward democratic peace is to act globally as if all countries live by a democratic, consensual peace process when in fact this couldn't be further from the truth.
But despite these political and philosophical chasms, our bond with the Europeans endures. The EU and the U.S. have a common belief in democratic government, human rights, and market economics, and we are bound by close security ties. We share a common concern in handling effectively a wide variety of political and security issues across the globe. We have to confront global challenges such as terrorist threats, menaces to security and stability, weapons proliferation, drugs, organized crime, and many other important issues. These complex problems require a committed partnership and allow us a little wiggle room to differ on human rights.
I have come to believe that tension among allies and friends is inevitable. There will be ups and downs. On fundamental principles, Europeans and Americans agree more than we disagree; but there always will be political differences that affect our decisions about security. All the more reason, then, for us to work harder at increasing mutual understanding.
If we hope to have the UN tangibly promote democracy, and indeed reform the UN, the democracies must make an operational caucus work in Turtle Bay and Lake Geneva. And the core of that grouping must be a durable transatlantic partnership -- a marriage which can endure the intermittent spats and relegating of one partner to sleep on the couch.
In closing, promoting human rights and democratic institutions is consistent with our national ideals and international agreements. The American tradition and universal human rights standards both recognize the intrinsic and inalienable dignity of the human person, and the rights and freedoms that stem from that dignity. It is the responsibility of governments to respect and secure those rights for their citizens. And it is the responsibility of democracies to promote the protection of these rights and freedoms wherever they may be threatened or violated. As Secretary Rice said at the April 2005 Community of Democracies Ministerial in Santiago, "We must usher in an era of democracy that thinks of tyranny as we think of slavery today: a moral abomination that could not withstand the natural desire of every human being for a life of liberty and dignity."
Besides embodying our ideals, a democracy-centered foreign policy is profoundly in our national interest. We believe the expansion of ordered liberty to be the most effective long-term solution to the security threats posed by religious extremism, terrorism, failed states, and bloodthirsty dictatorships.
The long-detained Burmese democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, observed that her father said, "Democracy is the only ideology which is consistent with freedom. It is also an ideology that promotes and strengthens peace. It is therefore the only ideology we should aim for."
The United Nations can advance democracy, building on its strong programs with a new UN Democracy Fund, and replacing its perverted, theatrical Human Rights Commission with a new Council poised to help nations build rule of law year-round.
Promoting democracy helps promote peace and economic prosperity as key aims of the 60-year old United Nations project. So too, democracy and democracies can help, in fact, save the United Nations. By not letting the useful presence of universal membership cripple the United Nations, the world's democracies can work to have the UN achieve the vision its founders anticipated -- to advance peace, economic development, and human rights. I am happy to take your questions.
Released on November 16, 2005