Bipartisan U.S. Foreign Policy Leaders Urge Obama Administration to Revitalize U.S.-UN Relationship

Leaders Outline Policy Priorities For Strengthening UN, Addressing Global Challenges

November 20, 2008


Megan Rabbitt

Washington, D.C. (November 19, 2008) – A bipartisan coalition of over three dozen senior foreign policy leaders in the United States issued a public statement today urging the incoming Obama Administration to help lead a new era of international cooperation by strengthening the U.S.-UN relationship.  The signatories include four former Cabinet Secretaries, eight former Senators, four former UN Ambassadors, three former National Security Advisors and two former Governors.  The statement was released by the United Nations Foundation and Partnership for Secure America.

“President-elect Obama has the opportunity to engage with the world and renew American leadership at the United Nations, the world’s platform for finding shared solutions to global problems,” said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation.  “The challenges we face are immense.  But working together with other nations ensures that we don’t have to shoulder all of the burdens or take all of the risks to make the world a safer and better place.”

The leaders’ statement identifies nine specific steps the new Administration can take to bolster international cooperation and address global problems through the United Nations.  The statement appeared in a full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times and reads:

In today’s rapidly changing world of interdependence, globalization, and transnational threats, the United States must balance a strong military with creative diplomacy to secure America’s interests. We must recognize that the United Nations is a critical platform and partner for advancing international cooperation on today’s global threats and challenges, such as poverty and disease, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and climate change.

The UN cannot succeed without strong U.S. leadership and support. The next President has a unique opportunity to revitalize the U.S.-UN relationship as a symbol of America’s commitment to constructive international cooperation. This investment will pay off substantially by helping to enhance our standing internationally and strengthen our ability to keep America safe and strong.

Accordingly, we, the undersigned, believe that the incoming Obama Administration should:

·  Make an early and visible statement on the United Nations that expresses American commitment to international cooperation through the UN;

·  Lead on UN efforts on nuclear proliferation, counterterrorism, climate change and the Millennium Development Goals;

·  Play a constructive role in UN reform efforts and updating the UN’s management and budgetary systems;

·  Pay our debts on time, work to remove Congressional caps, and alter the schedule of U.S. payments so that we are in a position to honor our treaty obligations;

·  Engage with the UN on the shared interests of stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan and supporting effective democratic governments in those countries;

·  Obtain a seat on the faltering Human Rights Council and work to influence it from within;

·  Underscore our commitment to the system of international agreements and treaties by seeking Senate consent for key treaties signed but not ratified;

·  Place well-qualified Americans in open positions at the UN;

·  Help manage the growing workload assigned to UN peacekeeping by providing logistical and management expertise and other support needed to enhance UN capacities.

The signatories to the statement are:

Madeleine Albright
Secretary of State 1997-2001Gen. Brent Scowcroft
National Security Advisor 1974-77, 1989-93

Lee Hamilton
US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99

Warren Rudman
US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92

Howard Baker
US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85

Samuel Berger
National Security Advisor, 1997-2001

Gen. Charles G.  Boyd
Pres., Business Executives for National Security

Harold Brown
Secretary of Defense 1977-81

Zbigniew Brzezinski
National Security Advisor 1977-81

Warren Christopher
Secretary of State 1993-97

John Danforth
US Senator (R-MO) 1976-95

Kenneth M. Duberstein
White House Chief of Staff 1988-89

Slade Gorton
US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001

Gary Hart
US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87

Rita Hauser
Chair, International Peace Academy 1992-present

Carla Hills
US Trade Representative 1989-93

Karl F. Inderfurth
Assistant Secretary of State 1997-2001

Nancy Kassebaum Baker
US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97

 Thomas Kean
Governor (R-NJ), 1982-90Richard Leone
President, The Century Foundation

Amb. William Luers
President, UN Association of the USA

Donald McHenry
Ambassador to UN 1979-81

Joseph Nye
University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University

Edward Perkins
Ambassador to UN 1992-93

William Perry
Secretary of Defense 1994-97

Thomas Pickering
Undersecretary of State, 1997-2000

Alan Simpson
US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97

Nancy Soderberg
Representative for Special Political Affairs at the UN 1997-2001

Theodore Sorensen
White House Special Counsel 1961-63

Strobe Talbott
Deputy Secretary of State 1994-2001

Ted Turner
Founder and Chairman, UN Foundation

John Whitehead
Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88

Christine Todd Whitman
Governor (R-NJ) 1994-2001

Timothy E. Wirth
US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93

Frank Wisner
Undersecretary of State 1992-93

James D. Wolfensohn
World Bank President, 1995-2005

Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

For more information, contact:

Katherine Miller
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
United Nations Foundation202.247.7280
Michael Landweber
Associate Director
Partnership for a Secure America202.464.6014

About the UN Foundation
The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems.

About Partnership for a Secure America
PSA was created in 2005 by Rep. Hamilton and Sen. Rudman to foster bipartisan, consensus driven solutions to the major national security and foreign policy challenges facing our country.  More information on PSA and bios of our distinguished bipartisan Advisory Board, can be found at