An IR realist view of the General Assembly:
This year, the U.N. circus was once again welcomed to New York by snarled traffic and snarling Manhattanites — all of whom almost certainly wish that just once, the entourages and press conferences and cocktail receptions and empty, rambling speeches would be directed to the citizens of somewhere else. Detroit’s been having a tough time, how about there? Or Athens? Or how about they just set up a Facebook page and let national governments simply post their speeches for all to see? Think of the savings. Or, to put it in better perspective: Think of what would be lost if we skipped the meeting altogether.
That’s right, nothing. Nothing at all
And, another short piece that realist diplomatic orator would love, “Great moments in U.N. prop use.”
And from the NYT’s UN correspondent, one of the best quotes I have heard in a long time about the melee that is the GA fall session:
Asked to summarize the entire event, one veteran diplomat riffed: “It is running from one meeting to another meeting; it is checking that the cars are there at the right moment; it is finding a restaurant when suddenly a minister says, ‘I want to eat a hamburger.’ It is sending a security guard to Abercrombie to buy a T-shirt for a teenager.”
“It is really an exciting thing,” he went on. “It is trying to find the minister of Uzbekistan without confusing him with the minister of Tajikistan. It is finding that North Lawn Building, Room 17 doesn’t exist. You discover that the interpreter only knows Italian when you needed Spanish and the minister only knows Russian.
“It is diplomacy at its worst,” he said.