An American at the UN: Feltman's farewell

When the top American inside the United Nations' sprawling system speaks on his final day on the job, it's worth list...

Posted: Apr 1, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Apr 1, 2018 10:59 AM

When the top American inside the United Nations' sprawling system speaks on his final day on the job, it's worth listening.

Jeffrey Feltman departed the global organization after six years. A top concern? The now former UN undersecretary-general for political affairs warned that many of the leaders of UN member countries are pulling away from diplomacy.

Feltman said leaders are questioning whether the multilateral system is the right way to move forward. He described it as "quite worrying" that national leaders were questioning the value of the United Nations.

He didn't name President Donald Trump specifically, but clearly the United States was among the list of nations now led by more nationalistic leaders who have lost faith in the international institution. Trump has proposed spending cuts at the United Nations but has not denounced the organization as much as some critics feared.

Feltman was in North Korea in December, a journey that might have helped pave the way for the historic proposed summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Feltman's UN role stressed conflict prevention, and he said he thinks the North Korean-US relationship could be at a beginning with an unknown future. When he visited North Korea, the former aide to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was armed only with the goodwill and international "honest broker" stamp of the United Nations.

His hours of talks in Pyongyang didn't get that much attention globally. But in light of the announced summit, it does cause one to think about the impact of Feltman's journey.

He spent his time in Pyongyang explaining the state of play outside the reclusive Asian country. Feltman said he told the North Koreans, "Your problem isn't just with the US, it's with the entire world," citing the unity of the Security Council, which has voted 15-0 numerous times to punish and sanction North Korea.

Feltman said he hopes this unusual order of "summit first, process later" will turn out to be promising.

In a farewell UN news conference Thursday, Feltman said he hopes the UN efforts on his trip "contributed" to the thaw in relations. He said it was "important" to open channels. He didn't meet with Kim Jong Un, but Feltman stressed the risks of an accidental war erupting, considering how high tensions were last year between Washington and Pyongyang. He said he doesn't know whether his journey played a part.

He did issue some guidance: "It's important to manage expectations."

Feltman said the North Korean situation is "'extremely complicated." He pointed to the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and how that can be achieved. He said the United Nations doesn't expect to take part in the talks but can play a valuable role in the process that might begin after the summit.

The Security Council resolutions on North Korea must be complied with if there is to be any kind of agreement between the United States and North Korea, Feltman said. Those resolutions call for denuclearization and, if progress is made, could establish inspections, once again, of suspected North Korean nuclear sites.

The United Nations is not perfect, Feltman said, but no organization is. He said his department of UN political affairs is most effective when in the background. He acknowledged being uncomfortable speaking in public.

He said the United Nations must do a "better job" of getting its message out. A lot of people from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Kansas City, Missouri, have no idea what goes on inside the United Nations, he said, because of heavy jargon and complexity.

Feltman cited Syria and Myanmar as two crises that the United Nations was unable to prevent, prompting an appeal for the world to pursue peace and justice and accountability.

Feltman's departure from the United Nations was his own decision. Another American, Rosemary DiCarlo, will replace him, the first woman to be hired for that post.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 150809

Reported Deaths: 4741
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26961607
Cuyahoga17490656
Hamilton13191315
Montgomery7883163
Lucas7322364
Butler6040111
Summit5332252
Marion310347
Warren309649
Mahoning3073281
Stark2883175
Pickaway267844
Lorain231786
Delaware228120
Fairfield211853
Licking193663
Columbiana193280
Wood190272
Trumbull1896132
Clark181040
Clermont173123
Lake163851
Medina147539
Greene146533
Miami145451
Allen144169
Portage115566
Mercer113218
Erie94647
Tuscarawas93620
Wayne93668
Richland90319
Ross89024
Madison83012
Darke80442
Geauga72349
Belmont72227
Hancock71210
Athens7072
Ashtabula65948
Lawrence65922
Shelby64910
Auglaize6089
Putnam60823
Sandusky57720
Huron5517
Union5452
Scioto5117
Seneca48514
Ottawa46930
Preble44015
Muskingum4213
Holmes3909
Jefferson3364
Defiance32511
Henry31814
Logan3123
Champaign3083
Clinton29913
Perry2989
Brown2902
Knox28615
Jackson2636
Morrow2612
Washington26123
Hardin25613
Fulton2461
Crawford2446
Ashland2424
Coshocton23411
Fayette2326
Highland2303
Williams2133
Wyandot21312
Pike2000
Gallia19113
Meigs17610
Guernsey1708
Hocking1669
Carroll1527
Adams1354
Van Wert1233
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan490
Vinton473
Noble330
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Angola
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 54°
Huntington
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Van Wert
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Rain moves in for Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events