U.S. – U.N. Relationship May be Headed for Rocky Waters

By Pamela Falk, CBS News:

Antonio Guterres was elected the ninth United Nations secretary general by consensus of 193 nations, and with unusual agreement by the United States and Russia. He began work January 1, vowing a “surge for peace” and much-needed reform of the bloated bureaucracy at the U.N, a body that’s seen as doing much good, but that’s failed in recent years to resolve the world’s most intractable conflicts.

On Tuesday, in his first formal appearance as the U.N.’s CEO, he told a packed Security Council chamber, “We must rebalance our approach to peace and security. For decades, this has been dominated by responding to conflict.”

The former refugee chief and Portuguese prime minister said the reforms he’s setting in motion will be able to “prevent war and sustain peace.” And, he said, nations must “strengthen the credibility and authority of the United Nations.”

At the same time, because of a December Security Council resolution condemning Israeli West Bank settlements, made possible by the abstention of the outgoing Obama administration, a bipartisan group in Congress is considering cutting the U.S. financial contribution to the U.N. Both the House of Representatives and Senate voted to condemn the Council vote…

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