Renewing the U.S.-UN Relationship


We Agree: Renew the U.S.-UN Relationship

An Opportunity and Priority for the New Administration

In today’s rapidly changing world of interdependence, globalization, and transnational threats, the United States must balance a strong military with creative diplomacy to secure America’s interests. We must recognize that the United Nations is a critical platform and partner for advancing international cooperation on today’s global threats and challenges, such as poverty and disease, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and climate change.
The UN cannot succeed without strong U.S. leadership and support. The next President has a unique opportunity to revitalize the U.S.-UN relationship as a symbol of America’s commitment to constructive international cooperation. This investment will pay off substantially by helping to enhance our standing internationally and strengthen our ability to keep America safe and strong.

Accordingly, we, the undersigned, believe that the incoming Obama Administration should:

  • Make an early and visible statement on the United Nations that expresses American commitment to international cooperation through the UN;
  • Lead on UN efforts on nuclear proliferation, counterterrorism, climate change and the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Play a constructive role in UN reform efforts and updating the UN’s management and budgetary systems;
  • Pay our debts on time, work to remove Congressional caps, and alter the schedule of U.S. payments so that we are in a position to honor our treaty obligations;
  • Engage with the UN on the shared interests of stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan and supporting effective democratic governments in those countries;
  • Obtain a seat on the faltering Human Rights Council and work to influence it from within;
  • Underscore our commitment to the system of international agreements and treaties by seeking Senate consent for key treaties signed but not ratified;
  • Place well-qualified Americans in open positions at the UN;
  • Help manage the growing workload assigned to UN peacekeeping by providing logistical and management expertise and other support needed to enhance UN capacities.



Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State 1997-2001
Gen. Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor 1974-77, 1989-93
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92
Howard Baker, US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor, 1997-2001
Gen. Charles G. Boyd, Pres., Business Executives for National Security
Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense 1977-81
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor 1977-81
Warren Christopher, Secretary of State 1993-97
John Danforth, US Senator (R-MO) 1976-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Slade Gorton, US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita Hauser, Chair, International Peace Academy 1992-present
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Karl F. Inderfurth, Assistant Secretary of State 1997-2001
Nancy Kassebaum Baker, US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ), 1982-90
Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation
Amb. William Luers, President, UN Association of the USA
Donald McHenry, Ambassador to UN 1979-81
Joseph Nye, University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University
Edward Perkins, Ambassador to UN 1992-93
William Perry, Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering, Undersecretary of State, 1997-2000
Alan Simpson, US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97
Nancy Soderbergh, Representative for Special Political Affairs at the UN 1997-2001
Theodore Sorensen, White House Special Counsel 1961-63
Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State 1994-2001
Ted Turner, Founder and Chairman, UN Foundation
John Whitehead, Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor (R-NJ) 1994-2001
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93
James D. Wolfensohn, World Bank President, 1995-2005
Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)