Joe Biden will make his third speech as president to the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA).
But this year (for the first year in memory) none of the other heads of state of the five U.N. Security Council members — China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom — will attend. (An exception was 2020, when these leaders gave virtual addresses due to COVID-19)
The annual opening of the UNGA in New York is not just one of the U.N.’s most important annual events.
U.S. presidents have long used this meeting to hold summits and informal meetings with heads of state, especially Security Council members.
Although Russian and Chinese heads of state often skipped the UNGA since 2012, the UK prime minister attended every year.
The French president only missed two of these years.
So why are the Chinese, French, Russian, and British heads of state skipping this year’s UNGA?
The reason is simple: Joe Biden.
These leaders see Biden’s weak national security policies, foreign policy failures, and growing indications of mental decline and have no interest in meeting with him.
Global leaders also expect Biden to again give a flippant speech to the UNGA.
He is certain to scold Russia over the Ukraine War but provide no plan for ending it.
The president will probably devote most of his speech to climate change, claiming it's the most serious global security threat and not nuclear weapons, biothreats, or a possible Russia-China axis that could be joined by North Korea and Iran.
Add to this President Biden’s plan to stress in his UNGA speech a frivolous proposal he made at the U.N. last year to expand the Security Council.
According to press reports, Biden will call for expanding the Council to make it "equitable" and "inclusive," as well as to reduce the influence of Russia and China.
Biden reportedly wants to add Germany, Japan, and India as permanent members, plus up to three more Third World states.
Unlike the current permanent members, Biden does not want new permanent members to have veto power.
Biden is also expected to propose informal restrictions on the use of the Security Council veto because of frustration that Russia has used it to block Council resolutions on the Ukraine War.
Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams has criticized Biden’s support of weakening the veto, noting that the U.S. has used it 14 times since 2000.
Twelve of these vetoes were to block anti-Israel resolutions.
The current Security Council permanent members don't want to waste their time discussing Biden’s Council reform proposals because they oppose them and know they will go nowhere.
There are several reasons for this.
First, permanent members can use their vetoes to block any reform.
Russia and China do not favor reforms that weaken their power in the Council and are expected to veto Biden’s reform proposals, especially since Biden officials have told the press these reforms are targeting them.
Second, the Third World has long been deadlocked on which of its members it would add to an expanded Security Council.
Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Mexico all want this highly prized seat and oppose giving it to other states in the region.
The same is true for Africa, a continent of 54 nations which is demanding two permanent seats with veto power.
In Asia, India and Pakistan want a seat for themselves, not the other. The U.S. and Europe want to give a permanent seat to Japan, but China is adamantly opposed.
The third problem with Biden’s Security Council reform plan is that many nations — and the entire Third World — reject his idea of not granting the veto to new permanent members as creating a new form of "second class" permanent member.
Therefore, President Biden’s U.N. Security Council reform proposals will be dead on arrival. This is a good thing for U.S. national security since, as imperfect as the Council is, it may be the most effective U.N. body and has served American and global security interests many times.
This includes many effective U.N. peacekeeping operations and a U.N. mandate for the first Gulf War to reverse Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
The Trump administration successfully convinced the Security Council to pass six resolutions against North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
By contrast, Team Biden has been unable to pass any resolutions in the Council on North Korea to address a surging number of North Korean ballistic missile launches and reported preparations to conduct a nuclear test.
In May 2022, Russia and China vetoed the only Biden administration resolution on these issues put to a vote, the first Council resolution on North Korea to be vetoed since 1983.
The absence of Security Council permanent member heads of state at this year’s U.N. General Assembly will be a minor blow to the world body’s already tarnished reputation.
But the unprecedented decision of all four of them to forgo their traditional meeting with the president of the United States during the UNGA is far more significant and will further diminish the credibility and global leadership of a president who is widely viewed as incompetent and the weakest in American history.
Fred Fleitz is Vice Chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for American Security and a Newsmax TV Contributor. He previously served as National Security Council Chief of staff, CIA analyst, and as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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