Mark Leon Goldberg

Mark Leon Goldberg is the executive editor of UN Dispatch and host of the "Global Dispatches" podcast.

Recent Articles

When Soft Power Salutes Despots

American diplomacy once leaned against aspiring dictators. But Trump found reasons to cozy up to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte at this week’s ASEAN meetings.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of The American Prospect . Subscribe here . When Donald Trump addressed an adoring crowd in central Warsaw last July 6, he had nothing but praise for the Polish government. The location was all too fitting. Krasinski Square faces Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, the country’s highest court. Since sweeping into office in 2015 with an outright majority (a feat that no party had accomplished since the fall of communism), the right-wing Law and Justice party sought to subsume all of Poland’s institutions of government to the will of the party and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Under a key regime proposal, all of the high court’s justices who were not party-approved would be removed from office, and any new appointments would have to be made through parliament. The government had held off on pulling the trigger, in part over concern for how this would affect the country’s relationship with the United States. Nearly...

Stopping a Genocide Before It Starts

The international anti-genocide movement that began in the wake of Darfur could prevent the next crisis in Sudan.

Omar al-Bashir, president of the Republic of Sudan (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
On Jan. 9, South Sudanese citizens will head to the polls to vote on a referendum to determine if South Sudan will become a country independent from the rest of Sudan. That the southerners will overwhelmingly vote for independence is not in doubt -- the south fought a 20-year civil war against the Sudanese central government that ended in 2005. Popular sentiment is clearly in favor of autonomy. What is still unknown is whether the central government in Khartoum will let the south go without a fight, which includes the specter of genocide. In February 2010, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair cited Southern Sudan as a place where "a new mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur." If so, the tactics will likely resemble Khartoum's 2003-2004 genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, which left an estimated 400,000 people dead and more than a million displaced. Militias on the ground backed by Sudanese airpower and heavy weaponry ransacked villages and towns...

Obama's Darfur Test

The International Criminal Court is expected to issue a warrant for the arrest of Omar al Bashir, president of Sudan, in the coming weeks, heightening tension in the region.

In the coming weeks, Darfur will reach yet another crisis point when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir of Sudan. When this happens, President Bashir has all but promised retaliation -- against United Nations personnel in Sudan, against Darfuris, and against southern Sudanese separatists. This much we know. What is still unclear is how the Obama administration intends to respond. Susan Rice, the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, once aptly described the previous administration's Darfur policy as "bluster and retreat," "bluster" for the lip service paid to the issue, and "retreat" for never following up its tough rhetoric with meaningful political, diplomatic, or even military action. Now, with Rice at the U.N. and Hillary Clinton at the helm in Foggy Bottom, one would suspect bumbling Bush-era policies would come to an end. Both women have been strong advocates for a more robust approach to the Darfur crisis...

The John Bolton Agenda

In his new memoir, John Bolton sneers at his former colleagues, charts his rise as a conservative, and revels in his own intractability.

(AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)
Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad by John Bolton (Threshold Editions, 496 pages, $27) Most Americans have likely never heard of Emyr Jones-Parry, but he is a legend at the United Nations. From 2003 until Tony Blair left office this summer, Jones-Parry served as the United Kingdom's UN Ambassador (or as they are called at the United Nations: Permanent Representative, or "Perm Rep"). In that role, Jones-Parry was soft-spoken and prone to diplomatic niceties -- as most ambassadors are. Yet Jones-Parry was an effective diplomat whose words carried great weight with America's allies in Europe and beyond. When Emyr Jones-Parry spoke, foreign ministers in Europe, Africa, and Asia listened. One would assume, therefore, that Tony Blair's man at the UN would be an essential asset to an American seeking to sell his or her diplomatic priorities to the world at large. At least that would be the case under normal circumstances. But when John Bolton...

The Coming Peacekeeping Crunch

The costs of UN peacekeeping missions across the globe have ballooned -- and, along with them, so have America's arrears.

By September, predicts Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Peter Pace, we may know whether or not the "military part" of the surge is working in Iraq. By then we may also learn whether another surge -- one that eclipses the 20,000 additional troops approved for Iraq in January -- has been successful as well. In the last eight months, the demand for United Nations peacekeepers has increased by some 37,000 police and military personnel, a jump of nearly 50 percent in the total number of peacekeepers deployed around the world. But while the president is pressing Congress to pay for his Iraq surge, the same cannot be said of UN peacekeeping -- American arrearages to UN peacekeeping are now on pace to exceed $1 billion by year's end. A deadbeat of that caliber would be a significant drain on any organization. But with a record number of peacekeeping operations deployed around the world -- and new missions just getting off the ground in Lebanon, East Timor, and Darfur -- UN peacekeeping is poised...