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Hope for a New “UN Moment”

When the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary this September, the US will still be misgoverned by a transactional president who has no interest in global rules. But if that rules out a rebirth of global multilateralism this fall, things could look very different next spring.

WASHINGTON, DC – On September 21, 2020, the United Nations will mark its 75th anniversary with a negotiated declaration to be endorsed at a high-level meeting the same month. The UN’s member countries should turn the event into a rechristening.

The UN was founded after World War II, after the Allied powers defeated a regime motivated by an ideology of pure evil that had inspired and even claimed to justify unspeakable, industrial-scale atrocities. The UN’s creation was a watershed moment, inaugurating a new era of cooperation and multilateralism intended to prevent such a catastrophe from ever recurring.

But even before the UN was born, the other deep fault line that would determine the course of the twentieth-century was emerging. The onset of the Cold War, which divided the world between an American-led “West” and a Soviet-led “East,” dashed the high hopes that had been placed in the “UN moment” of 1945.

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