This article incorrectly said that Libya blocked a U.S. plan for a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning violence against civilians in south Darfur. Libya blocked a presidential statement condemning the violence. A presidential statement requires a unanimous vote of the 15-member Security Council; a resolution requires only nine votes, though it can be blocked by one of the council's five permanent members.
|Page 2 of 2 <|
At United Nations, U.S. Faces Hurdles For Its Agenda
"Countries which are our genuine allies behave at the U.N. as if they are not, and adopt policies quite out of step both with their relations with Washington and with what the democracies of the Western world tend to think," he said. For instance, he said, Egypt and Pakistan, two major recipients of U.S. aid, routinely oppose the United States.
Many of the most prestigious posts, including the General Assembly presidency and Security Council membership, are allotted to countries on the basis of rotation within regional blocs -- a formula designed to ensure that even the smallest governments get to play on the international stage. In the past, the United States has frequently blocked such countries as Libya, Sudan and Venezuela from securing Security Council seats or other choice jobs.
But the United States has not opposed Libya since the two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in May 2006. And Washington's ability to thwart other aspirants has been weakened.
In the final days of the Bush administration, U.S. diplomats sought to block Iran's bid to chair the U.N. Development Program's executive board. But they were defeated, persuading only three other members of the 36-person board to oppose Iran.
"The United States' influence is diminished greatly as a result of its policy," said d'Escoto, who said that the Americans also launched a campaign to deny him the General Assembly presidency.
D'Escoto said he is eager to work with the new administration. "I didn't think I would live to see the day when you had such a really reasonable and constructive attitude on the part of the leadership of this country," he said.
John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said efforts to engage will yield few concrete results from countries that remain committed to weakening the United States. "I think all countries in the U.N. pursue their own national interest," he said. "The only one that gets criticized for that is the United States."
Heraldo Muñoz, the U.N. ambassador from Chile, which is a member of the Group of 77, conceded that the group has been radicalized and that moderates rarely protest. "There is a silent majority that oftentimes is not taken into full consideration because the silent majority don't speak out," he said.
Some diplomats say many of the Third World leaders at the United Nations have achieved little success in pushing their own agendas.