On the constant din and hum of reform–and how the UN fits in a US policymakers tool belt from the former U.S. Sec State and Ambassador to the UN:
Americans tend to dislike the word “multilateralism” — it has too many syllables and ends in an “ism.” The reality, however, is that the U.N. is the worlds most visible multilateral organization and has the most members. No one country, even the United States, can tackle the bundle of issues the world faces — from terrorism to nuclear proliferation, economic inequality to environmental degradation.
I often tell my students that American decision-makers only have a handful of tools in the toolbox to achieve the kind of foreign policy they want: bilateral diplomacy and multilateral diplomacy; economic tools; threat of the use of force and use of force; law enforcement; and intelligence. Thats it. I dont believe in multilateralism as an end in itself. But I believe in it as an important instrument of policy. If we start thinking that the United Nations doesnt work, that we dont have to pay our bills, or that everything in diplomacy will turn out exactly the way we want it, we are leaving out an indispensable tool.