Some unprecedented news, folks. Never in the history of the United Nations has a U.S. President taken the chairmanship of the powerful UN Security Council. Perhaps it is because of what could arguably be a Constitutional prohibition against doing so. To wit: Section 9 of the Constitution says:
“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Nonetheless, the rotating chairmanship of the council goes to the U.S. this month. The normal course of business would have U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice take the gavel. However, this time will be different. Constitution be damned, Barack Hussein Obama has decided to put HIMSELF in the drivers seat, and will preside over global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament talks slated to begin September 24th. The Financial Times says:
“Barack Obama will cement the new co-operative relationship between the US and the United Nations this month when he becomes the first American president to chair its 15-member Security Council.”
The topic for the summit-level session of the council on September 24 is nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament – one of several global challenges that the US now wants to see addressed at a multinational level.
UN officials also hope a climate change debate on September 22 will give fresh impetus to the search for a global climate deal at Copenhagen in December. There are also hopes a possible meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, that Mr. Obama would host, could lead to a breakthrough about a timetable for Middle East peace.
Here is what the UN Security Council does. Picture Obama as the Chair of this committee with this power.
Under the UN Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:
* to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations
* to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction
* to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement
* to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments
* to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken
* to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression
* to take military action against an aggressor
* to recommend the admission of new Members
* to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”
* to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.
No American president has ever attempted to acquire the image of king of the Universe by officiating at a meeting of the UN’s highest body. Obama apparently believes that being flanked by council-member heads of state like Col. Moammar Qaddafi – who is expected to be seated five seats to Obama’s right – will cast a sufficiently blinding spell on Americans.
He undoubtedly hopes that the horrid state of the nation’s economy, turmoil over health care, and a summer of racial scapegoating will pale by comparison. This role as UN Security Council chair will allow him to make decisions, influence legislation and resolutions, and set the agenda.
Right Soup will be closely following this very unsettling turn of events. Like I always say, pay attention to what Obama DOES.