Secretary Clinton’s Remarks to Model UN Students

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered some remarks to students attending a model UN conference in Washington, D.C. today.  She spoke plainly about why the UN is such a valuable organization for the United States.

Some people criticize the United Nations for good reasons. I mean, it’s a big organization and it’s a difficult one to really get your arms around. There’s so many different countries, and people have different points of view, but that’s the point of it. If we didn’t have the United Nations, we would have to invent one. On issues like piracy or the H1N1 flu virus, we have to work together. And we do so through organizations that are either formed by, run by, or associated with the United Nations. And that’s why it was important, when the United Nations was created back in 1945 here in the United States, that people admitted that we can’t solve all the problems on our own. No nation, even one as powerful as ours, is able to do that.

Just look at what’s happening as we meet today. More than a hundred thousand UN peacekeepers are stationed around the world. I was recently in Haiti and there’s been a great degree of security and stability achieved because of the blue helmets. In particular, that UN force is led by a Brazilian general. We know the difficulties of trying to deal with failed and failing states where conflict and violence is just an every-minute occurrence.

And the United Nations brings relief, they bring humanitarian aid. We’re looking at what can be done to help the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Swat region of Pakistan because of the Taliban and the Pakistani army’s offensive. We worry about displaced people in Darfur, the Sudan. We just have so many concerns, and the United States cares deeply about the entire world, but we could not be a presence working on all of these issues were it not for the United Nations.

The best scientific evidence about the pace and severity of global warming comes from the intergovernmental panel that the United Nations established and runs. There are so many issues that you know about in your studies leading up to being part of the Model UN. And the United States supports the United Nations because we think it’s an investment in our own security, and we think it’s a necessary venue for us to discuss differences and try to hammer out compromises with other countries.

About a month or so ago when North Korea sent the missile up and it was in contravention, we believed, of a Security Council resolution that prohibited the North Koreans from doing that, we worked with the Japanese and the South Koreans and the Chinese and the Russians to come up with a much stronger statement than anyone expected. And it wasn’t easy because people had different perspectives, but it was finally achieved.