Claudia Rosett, as usual, did a great job contrasting Obama’s rhetoric with Sarkozy’s call for action:
The setting was the special, summit-level Security Council meeting Thursday morning, chaired by Obama, in which the official topics were nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament for the entire world â€” but with no focus on any specific country. The meeting was advertised by the White House as â€œhistoric,â€ if for no other reason than that no U.S. President has ever before stooped to chair the often feckless and at times just plain sleazy UN Security Council â€” where the 15 members currently include Vietnam and Libya. For this particular occasion, Libyaâ€™s foreign minister attended (thus sparing the Council the risk of a replay of Qaddadiâ€™s 96 minute performance the previous day on the General Assembly stage). The rest of the table was filled with presidents and prime ministers.
They began with Obamaâ€™s pre-packaged deal of unanimously adopting a â€œhistoricâ€ resolution, which Obama said â€œenshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons,â€ etc, etc. etc (All very nice, but what does this have to do with the real world?). Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon kicked off the ensuing round of official self-congratulatory huffing and puffing (â€â€¦a historic momentâ€¦a fresh start towards a new futureâ€). The canned diplo-speak continued, as each member spoke in turn â€“ Costa Rica, Croatia, Russia, Spain, Austria, Vietnam, Uganda, China â€¦ and then it was the turn of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Hereâ€™s his wakeup call, in the UNâ€™s translation from the French (boldface mine):
â€œWe are here to guarantee peace. We are right to talk about the future. But the present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises. The peoples of the entire world are listening to what we are saying, including our promises, commitments and speeches. But we live in the real world, not in a virtual one.
We say that we must reduce. President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council Resolutions. [Ed note: Sarkozy then listed international proposals for dialogue with Iran attempted in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.] I support Americaâ€™s extended hand. But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusion are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to take decisions.
â€¦ Secondly, there is North Korea â€” and there it is even more striking. It has violated every Security Council decision since 1993. It pays absolutely no attention to what the international community says. Even more, it continues ballistic missile testing. How can we accept that? What conclusions should we draw? â€¦â€
You can read President Sarkozyâ€™s entire statement here (in all its Defcon 1 relevance to the disclosures Friday of another Iranian uranium enrichment plant hidden on a military base near Qom) â€“ click on this link to Security Council meetings for 2009, then click on the link for â€œMeeting Recordâ€ of Sept 24th and scroll to page 12.
UPDATE: the full text English translation is here. The closing paragraph:
….So, ladies and gentlemen, my dear colleagues, this is what I believe, in full support of what was decided in the resolution and in full support of President Obamaâ€™s initiative. What I believe is that by having the courage to strengthen sanctions, together, against countries that violate Security Council resolutions, we will give credibility to our commitment to a world whose future holds fewer nuclear weapons and perhaps, one day, no nuclear weapons./.