OK, so Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won’t have his moment at the UN podium – at least not this year. But at just about the same time President Obama is addressing the General Assembly Tuesday morning, Mr. Romney will be speaking across Manhattan at the Clinton Global Initiative, former President Bill Clinton’s international development forum.
Mr. Obama’s star status at the UN was tarnished last year when, working through the Security Council, he opposed the Palestinians’ bid for recognition. This year, expect Obama to laud Myanmar’s emergence from authoritarian rule and to recognize the “work in progress” that are the countries of the Arab awakening. He’s likely to remind Syria’s embattled regime that its time is past, but a cautious president wanting no international surprises before November won’t be calling for international intervention in Syria’s civil war. Obama is also likely to remind the world that the window for resolving Iran’s nuclear challenge peacefully is closing.
A question buzzing around diplomatic circles: Will Obama offer a second take of his 2009 Cairo speech and address the frustrations – showcased in recent anti-American violence – that threaten to split Muslim countries from the 21st-century world?