Early this afternoon, President Obama landed in New York City to begin his week at the United Nations. Although it seems obvious that the General Assembly and Security Council will be addressing the threat of IS, there are many other topics that will be discussed.
1. Climate Change. Today he is scheduled to speak at the climate change summit. This follows the 300,000 person march that took place this weekend in response to rising greenhouse gas levels. Although it seems like a good plan, since Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have chosen not to attend (the leaders of two developing countries whose environmental policies will be critical if any progress is to be made in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) it seems not much can be done.
2. Ebola. Last Thursday, the Security Council declared the Ebola outbreak a threat to international peace and security and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dispatched an emergency mission to West Africa to coordinate efforts to stop it. On Thursday, Obama will attend a special meeting on the outbreak, where he is expected to discuss that plan and recruit more nations to help fight the lethal virus; the US has already pledged 3,000 U.S. military personnel to fight the epidemic.
3. Iran. Possible, but unlikely. Iran has been negotiating its nuclear program with the west, but a meeting at the UN is unlikely; But I’m sure there will be sideline discussions. The last time the leaders of the US and Iran met was in 1977, so if Obama and Rouhani meet in New York it will be a historic moment.
4. Israel-Palestine. Palestine has previously been granted non member observer status and has been very adamant about using international organizations, such as the UN, to garner support for their cause. Current US efforts in the area have been unsuccessful, and the US and Israel are both opposed to further Palestinian recognition from the UN; despite this, it would be extremely surprising if the topic wasn’t brought up.
And of course the threat of IS will be discussed. On Wednesday, Obama will speak at the General Assembly to explain his strategy against the Islamic State and recruiting allies.The same day, the Security Council will discuss the flow of foreign fighters into and out of Syria.