In the 67-year history of the United Nations, Russia has cast more veto votes than any other Security Council member. Its 128 vetoes account for nearly half of all vetoes in the council’s history, more than the number cast by the United States and Great Britain combined. It has also used the veto to effectively put the brakes on any serious action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

While the veto gives Security Council members outsized power, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that Russia’s love affair with the no vote actually weakens the country’s standing and takes entire council’s influence down a peg as well.

"Russian power, in many respects, is reflected through their capability of having the veto in the Security Council," Albright told us. "But ironically, what it does is make the Security Council less relevant. … By just doing a block, they take themselves out of having a leadership role in multilateral diplomacy."

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"

We are a democracy. We can only have as good a foreign policy as the public’s understanding of world affairs. And the tragedy is that the public’s understanding of world affairs in America today is abysmal…

It is ignorant. It is probably the least-informed public about the world among the developed countries in the world.

"

— Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, told PBS NewsHour last night.  (via realmencry)

(via realmencry)

Bringing back this graphic from the archive after foreign aid spending came up in President Obama’s Google Hangout.
Polls consistently show Americans overestimate the percentage of the U.S. budget used for foreign assistance. 
-TG

Bringing back this graphic from the archive after foreign aid spending came up in President Obama’s Google Hangout.

Polls consistently show Americans overestimate the percentage of the U.S. budget used for foreign assistance.

-TG

On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude-7 earthquake rocked Haiti, killing some 223,000 people and leaving 1.5 million homeless. 
- Photos of Haiti now.
- About 500,000 Haitians still live in tent cities.
- A survivor of rape in a tent camp tells her story.
- U.N. said Wednesday the cholera outbreak in Haiti is “one of the largest epidemics of the disease in modern history to affect a single country.”
(Haitians wash clothes in a stream on Jan. 8, 2011; Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude-7 earthquake rocked Haiti, killing some 223,000 people and leaving 1.5 million homeless. 

(Haitians wash clothes in a stream on Jan. 8, 2011; Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

If stem rust disease is left unchecked, it could wipe out 80% of the world’s wheat crop.
Scientists in Kenya’s Rift Valley are taking part in a complicated and protracted global fight against Ug99, or wheat rust.
(Example of wheat rust. Photo by reporter Fred de Sam Lazaro.)

If stem rust disease is left unchecked, it could wipe out 80% of the world’s wheat crop.

Scientists in Kenya’s Rift Valley are taking part in a complicated and protracted global fight against Ug99, or wheat rust.

(Example of wheat rust. Photo by reporter Fred de Sam Lazaro.)

Several thousand Iraqis, including many who helped the United States during the Iraq war, are caught in a grim race between death threats in their own country and the cumbersome process of obtaining a visa.
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(PHOTO: An interpreter speaks with Kurdish villagers in Al-Hamdaniya district, Iraq. Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images.)

Several thousand Iraqis, including many who helped the United States during the Iraq war, are caught in a grim race between death threats in their own country and the cumbersome process of obtaining a visa.

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(PHOTO: An interpreter speaks with Kurdish villagers in Al-Hamdaniya district, Iraq. Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images.)

Photos of Kim Jong Un, the probable heir to Kim Jong Il’s leadership of North Korea, on the left. 
This photo was released by the North Korean government in September 2010.
North Korea says supreme leader Kim Jong Il died Dec. 17 “from a great mental and physical strain” 

Photos of Kim Jong Un, the probable heir to Kim Jong Il’s leadership of North Korea, on the left. 

This photo was released by the North Korean government in September 2010.

North Korea says supreme leader Kim Jong Il died Dec. 17 “from a great mental and physical strain” 

"Each time [Britain] must choose between Europe and the open sea, we shall always choose the open sea."

Winston Churchill to Charles de Gaulle in one of their most famous clashes during World War II.

PBS NewsHour foreign affairs editor Mike Mosettig writes: 

On Thursday night, British Prime Minister David Cameron seemed to assume a Churchillian mantle as he delivered a resounding no to the European Union accord aimed at salvaging the embattled common currency.

"North Korea is approaching a catastrophic situation for vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and pregnant women,"

— David Austin, North Korea Program Director for Mercy Corps. Read the full story:  Aid Groups: Children in North Korea at Risk for Starvation this Winter via PBS NewsHour. (via pulitzercenter)

(Source: newshour.pbs.org, via centerforinvestigativereporting)


The heavy rains soaking the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya — the largest in the world — would normally mean sweet relief. But this year the rains have also caused an uptick in cholera, a potentially deadly disease caused by a bacteria that spreads through contaminated water.
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(Somali boys fetch water from a puddle in the sprawling Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.)

The heavy rains soaking the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya — the largest in the world — would normally mean sweet relief. But this year the rains have also caused an uptick in cholera, a potentially deadly disease caused by a bacteria that spreads through contaminated water.

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(Somali boys fetch water from a puddle in the sprawling Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.)