The State Department just announced that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the United States delegation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the UN next week. In UN terms, this means the United States will be represented at the “ministerial level,” which is a reflection of the importance to which a country places a particular meeting. (The only higher level is “head of state.”) In U.S. political terms, this is yet another example of the priority to which the Obama administration places international cooperation on nuclear issues. Other members of the delegation include: Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Tom D’Agostino, NNSA Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator; and Ambassador Susan Burk, Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation.
To offer some contrast, the last time one of these confabs was held the United States was represented by…. an Assistant Secretary of State. It’s not a knock on the particular Assistant Secretary, Stephen Rademaker, to say that his leadership of the delegation shows that the 2005 Review Conference was not a particular priority for the Bush administration.