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Harping on about holiday decorations before the Thanksgiving Turkey is even stuffed should be the preserve of Macy’s design teams and tinsel factories. But a recent event at CGD had me thinking about Christmas trees.
Last week I gave a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). I was the keynote speaker for a session on the global economy and the Millennium Development Goals. I came away with mixed feelings. On one hand, the inefficiency of the UN can be maddening—the place is badly overdue for a good skewering on The Daily Show.
For the third time in recent months, Russia, supported by China, blocked United Nations action to put additional pressure on Bashir Assad and help end the violence in Syria. A UN Security Council resolution is the preferred way to go. But if that is not possible, preemptive contract sanctions can tighten the squeeze on Assad without the cooperation of Russia and China.
David Gordon and Stephen Krasner, two respected former State Department Policy Planning Directors, have a timely oped in Politico today on Syria policy options. They claim, convincingly, that the current bimodal choice between the (dead?) Kofi Annan plan or (costly & risky) military strikes ignores further squeezing the Assad regime.
The April 12 deadline for a complete ceasefire in Syria seems to have slightly damped the violence in Syria for now, but alone it will do nothing to ensure a peaceful transition to a democratic government. President Bashar Assad’s government is still not complying with other parts of the UN brokered peace plan aimed at ending more than a year of deadly violence, and world leaders are insisting that a credible political transition must take place quickly for this fragile progress to hold any weight.