It's going to be a busy week in NYC this week: the United Nations session starts today with a popular President making his first real appearance on the global stage (followed by a trip to Pittsburgh for the G20 summit), and the Clinton Global Initiative holds its annual conference in tandem with the UN opening, with prospects of reduced enthusiasm (read: funding). And if that ain't enough, talks for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty are already underway here.
Obama's schedule in New York City includes a summit with the leaders of the Palestinians and Israel's prime minister for talks aimed at extending the overtures special envoy George Miller undoubtedly made last week. That the leaders have even agreed to meet is a signal that there's some reliance on Obama's strength as a reconciliator. That alone bodes well, since under Bush, the Palestinians were reluctant to do even that much, given Bush's cheerleader status for Israel.
In addition, there's Iran. The missile shield that Obama promised to dismantle in Eastern Europe may or may not have been a quid pro quo for getting Russian assistance in the Iran muddle...first the IAEA says they built a bomb, then backpedalled furiously from that, but then leaked that an "annex" to a report confirms the report...but it doesn't really matter. It was a stupid and provocative idea in the first place, and while Russia could pose a threat in the future, it's unlikely that we would have insufficient warning that we could not simply move the missiles back into Poland and the Czech Republic.
They are, after all, mobile missiles.
Not surprisingly, Obama has a meeting with Russian president Vlad... I mean, Dmitry Medvedev. Likely on the table, Iran. And Israel. And the nuke shield.
The backdrop to all these diplomatic overtures is the general economic condition globally, something the Clinton Global Intiative will deal with, no doubt. When a country hurts economically, it has two choices: work internally to fix its economy, or steal.
Essentially, the latter is the choice that George W Bush took when the economy tanked just prior to his inauguration. Remember how Iraq's oil would pay for the war?
Yea. Funny how that worked out, innit?
(By the way, Lance Mannion will be blogging the CGI on Wednesday and Friday)
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) will be scrounging this year, despite Clinton's best attempts to paint a happy picture on things. Now, you'd think the Republicans would be foursquare behind the CGI, as it encourages private contributions to assist the poor and developing nations of the world, right? You know, "thousand points of light" stuff?
You have to look hard to find them even mentioning it.
Damn, but they hate them some Clenis!
Add to this that Clinton and Obama will be making the rounds of late-night entertainment (Clinton on The Daily Show, Obama on Letterman) and you have the perfect storm of gridlock for midtown Manhattan traffic.
But it ought to be fun. I have my camera with me, just in case.