U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte ’60 came face to face with protesters before he even entered the Law School auditorium yesterday.
Negroponte moved past the small group of protesters and delivered a speech to about 80 people, discussing the role of the United Nations while focusing on Iraq, the Middle East and the war against global terrorism.
“I think he gave the standard lines of the [Bush] administration,” said Jennifer Taylor GRD ’03, who is getting her master’s in international relations with a concentration in the United Nations. “I would have liked to hear more personal opinions. But given that it’s difficult for an ambassador to express those opinions, I thought it was a fair representation of ideas.”
Before the talk, students from the Yale Coalition for Peace stationed themselves in front of the door to hand out flyers while other protesters stood outside the entrance to the Law School. The Connecticut Peace Coalition, the Middle East Crisis Committee and other groups had signs and flyers outside the Law School entrance.
During his talk, Negroponte said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 changed the priorities of the United Nations.
“Global terrorism cuts across too many U.S. interests not to be the first and last subject addressed each and every day,” Negroponte said.
But he began his talk by speaking about the United States’ goals before Sept. 11, and said the United Nations has made progress on all of them.
These goals included continuing budget discipline and reform, enhancing the capacity of the Department of Peacekeeping, and emphasizing the importance of supporting democracy and strengthening human rights education.
Negroponte said the most powerful U.N. response to the terrorist attacks was Security Council Resolution 1373, which instructs member countries to examine their laws in order to prevent terrorists from raising money.
“Cutting off global terrorism’s money makes sense because it does have money, lots of it, and without money global terrorism possesses neither wings nor weapon,” Negroponte said.
He said that terrorism cannot function without money and that he is wary of the argument that poverty is the cause of terrorism.
“Terrorism as we have known it over the last 40 years hasn’t been a poor man’s game,” Negroponte said. “People do not suddenly lose their moral compass because they are poor, and terrorism does not represent or benefit the poor.”
Negroponte also addressed the situation of Iraq, which he called “a menace to international peace and stability.”
“Some seem to think that the president’s characterization is the problem,” Negroponte said. “It is not. The problem is that Iraq is violating Security Council resolutions. — The Baghdad regime must comply with the council’s resolutions, accepting the return of weapons inspectors, fully declaring and destroying its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and missiles, and dismantling its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
When he turned his attention to the Middle East peace process, Negroponte said Security Council discussions have been slanted toward the Palestinian side.
“We think attempts at the U.N. to isolate Israel are counterproductive and have used our veto to say so,” Negroponte said. “The U.N. will not strengthen its ability to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Middle East by taking sides.”
History professor Paul Kennedy introduced Negroponte and said that Yale has been associated with the United Nations since its inception, and Negroponte said his Yale education prepared him for his career as a diplomat.
“I majored in political science at Yale and I still remember my professors,” Negroponte said. “They were an excellent help to me.”