The United States and The United Nations: From FDR to Obama

Drew Sheets, Op-Ed Editor

The United Nations Association Santa Rosa Chapter welcomed esteemed author and USF Professor Chris O’Sullivan to give a lecture about the progress of America at the First United Methodist Church Feb. 2, titled: “The United States and The United Nations: From FDR to Obama.”

A crowd of about 150 people showed up to see the lecture, 60 of them students from the SRJC Political Science classes looking for extra credit.

The night started off with a tribute to long time board members, Bob and Barbara Abramson, in which another long time member, Bob Brown, quoted Ulysses at length and spoke eloquently. Professor O’Sullivan, a very experienced orator himself, managed just fine.
O’Sullivan started by cracking jokes, largely at the expense of Republicans. He described how horrible he felt that Rick Perry was out of the race, just in time to say Perry made “George W. Bush look like Aristotle.”
After the crowd was seated and thoroughly engaged, O’Sullivan gave a brief history of the UN. The UN is the brainchild of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). President Roosevelt had watched President Wilson closely when designing the League of Nations, saw where Wilson failed and vowed not to make the same mistakes. Even though the U.S. wouldn’t officially enter the war until late 1941, FDR was making postwar plans as early as 1939. When WWII did end, he was ready to make sure America had a primary say in the forging of the second global institution.
Roosevelt was in the middle of writing the UN inauguration speech when an artist came into his home to paint his picture. FDR agreed to sit for the painting, then minutes later, fell over dead. Harry Truman would go on to read the exact speech that FDR was working on at the UN’s inauguration in San Francisco, 1945.
O’Sullivan briefly gave insight to every UN Secretary General and U.S. ambassador since the UN’s founding to the present. The lecture lasted approximately 30 minutes and O’Sullivan fielded questions for about ten minutes following.

When asked how America was going to be able to count on other countries to pick up more of the financial costs of the UN he responded, “I believe Obama has addressed that issue in his last speech in India, where he said that with more wealth comes more economic responsibility.” Obama gave a speech in China in July, 2009, where he said, “We can update international institutions so that growing economies like China play a greater role that matches their greater responsibility.”

When asked about Syria, O’Sullivan confirmed America’s strategic defense experts’ view of using the Libyan Intervention Model as an effective policy for the future of interventionism.
O’Sullivan implied that with nuclear weapons threatening to spread the globe and the prospect of one ending up in the wrong hands, combined with climate change, that it should be clear to anyone with common sense that this will be a team effort.