The UN Was a Bad Choice

On Tuesday, the Palestinians—with Lebanon, Brazil and South Africa as sponsors—submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council calling on the body to condemn Israeli settlement construction. Though Washington stands by its previously voiced oppositions to settlement building, the administration is not happy about this move. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that negotiated agreement is the way to resolution, and that the United States doesn’t see “action at the UN or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about this desired outcome.”

Washington also had some strong words for Haiti yesterday. The government there is still trying to sort out the results of a November presidential election. Monitors from the Organization of American States say that fraud was prevalent during the vote and the current president’s chosen candidate, Jude Celestin, should be taken out of the running. Speaking to the Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice urged Haiti to reject Celestin and offered a warning if it does not: “Sustained support from the international community, including the United States, will require a credible process that represents the will of the Haitian people.” Rice also said Washington is worried about the “unpredictable impact” of former-President Jean-Claude Duvalier, a corrupt ruler who was ousted in a popular uprising but recently returned to Haiti.

Chinese President Hu Jintao didn’t exactly tell U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Beijing is committed to revaluing its currency. But though Biden was a bit vague on the subject, he implied yesterday that China realizes its currency has to appreciate. He said, “We had significant discussions about that [revaluation] in our bilateral meetings. And it is being worked hard.” John Kerry, the head of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, also said China will likely let the yuan rise: “Every indication is that China is going to continue, over a period of time, to strengthen the value (of its currency) . . . and to raise it at a rate that is manageable in terms of their own inflation and other issues.” Kerry and other senators met with Hu yesterday.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns is heading up a delegation in Istanbul for talks with Iran and the P5+1. The goal is to “launch a meaningful and practical process that addresses the core issues with Iran’s nuclear program,” according to State Department spokesman PJ Crowley.

And White House spokesman Robert Gibbs let a not-so-secret-cat out of the bag yesterday. He said that President Obama would “likely” run for reelection in 2012.