In a powerful speech at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs yesterday, Ambassador Susan Rice emphasized the U.S. Administration’s renewed commitment to engaging at the UN and working with–rather than against- governments to ensure human security and achieve progress on major global challenges.
“Through word and deed,” said Ambassador Rice “the United States is showing that we are ready to lead once more.”
This leadership, based on the principle that the well-being of America is dependent on the well-being of people everywhere, has already been exercised in word and deed by the Administration: in May, the United States sought election to- and joined-the UN Human Rights Council for the first time, stood strong for reproductive health and rights at a high-level United Nations meeting, and rescinded the prohibitive Global Gag Rule .
Acknowledging that one nation cannot change the world on its own, the Ambassador called for effective and coordinated multilateral cooperation in eradicating poverty, eliminating health disparities, and protecting human rights. This shared global agenda requires “states with both the capacity and the will to tackle common challenges.”
Most importantly, she stated that this new ”era of engagement” will be guided by respect and sound policy, rather than hubris and ”petty battles”:
“We have changed course, embracing as our own the Millennium Development Goals, which the United States once shunned…We no longer oppose mentions of reproductive health or the International Criminal Court. We no longer balk at every reference to the ‘right to food’ or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”
It is clear that the new U.S. era of engagement is here to stay. We have stepped off the “sidelines” and onto the global stage. We are committed to protecting human rights and playing nice with others.
Change has indeed come.