Ed: 33: December/2008
When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, a strategy of "engagement without illusions" will most likely drive the Obama Administration. Prospects of diplomatic success are worth trying, but at a minimum, engagement would attempt to reverse the slide toward radicalisation.
If Barack Obama is to persuade Iran to negotiate away its illegal nuclear weapons program, he will first need to generate more leverage than what the Bush Administration is leaving him with.
The United Nations' Review Conference for the 2001 "World Conference Against Racism" is shaping up to be as unworthy of its name as was its predecessor. The 2001 conference (Durban I) was hosted by South Africa in Durban and its legacy as a hate fest of antisemitism and anti-Israel thuggery has blighted the city's reputation.
While a laudable goal, the UN system is too often dysfunctional for temporary Security Council membership to be an end in and of itself. Instead, reforming the UN and its institutions should be the animating factor underlying Australia's campaign and, if successful, its tenure.