Daily Archives: September 22, 2009

Gideon Rachman

New York is even more chaotic and noisy than normal, when the UN comes to town. Trying to deal with the security arrangements for 88 heads-of-state in a few square miles of midtown Manhattan turns the city into a mad-house of road blocks and blaring police sirens.

The locals are reasonably tolerant. But, inevitably, Fox News is trying to use the occasion to whip up a bit of anti-UN sentiment. I watched a broadcast in which a TV anchor listed all the “crazies” and anti-American leaders who are in town, and invited his audience to share in his disgust that they are being funded by “your tax dollars”. The implication was that it was clearly in American interests to save some cash by slinging the UN out of New York and barring the likes of Hugo Chavez, Gaddafi and Ahmadi-Nejad from ever entering the country.

ADJ is still the number one villain. Fox helpfully pointed out that he is staying at the Intercontinental. Gaddafi has not found anywhere to pitch his tent, so is staying at the Libyan mission. And Obama is at the Waldorf Astoria. I was at the Waldorf last night and by American standards, the security is reasonably relaxed. You can wander around the lobby unmolested. Its only the upper floors that are barred. 

Gideon Rachman

pinn

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, might have been excused had she decided to skip the Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh later this week. The German general election takes place on Sunday – just 48 hours after the summit. Ms Merkel’s decision to go to Pittsburgh is both cool and calculated. It sends a signal to the German electorate that she is relaxed, above the fray, an international leader more concerned with representing her country to the world than with mud-wrestling domestic opponents in the last days of a campaign.