“The room where it happens”

The leaders of France, Great Britain and China couldn’t find their way to the United Nations General Assembly. That’s a shame.



September 20, 2023 - 5:39 PM

Last minute preparations are made before the start of the United Nations (UN) general Assembly on Sept. 19, 2023, in New York City. Dignitaries and their delegations from across the globe have descended on New York for the annual event. This year marks the 78th session of the General Debate at the UN Headquarters and will focus on the crisis of global warming. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS

Lovers of the musical “Hamilton” will remember lyrics from the song, “The Room Where It Happens.” In it, a young Aaron Burr declares his ambition to become a national leader. He wants to be a power broker, a deal maker, surrounded by the important figures of his day. Up until then, he’s been on the sidelines, outside looking in as treaties, laws and nations take shape. No more, he says. He wants to be “in the room where it happens.”

Today’s leaders, if they share similar aspirations, likely feel the same. Which would explain our frustration with France, China and Great Britain, whose leaders have skipped town and missed this week’s General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. If you want to lead, the first step is showing up.

The three countries join the United States and Russia to make up the five that hold veto power on the U.N. Security Council. We understand why Putin can’t make it to New York that pesky International Criminal Court arrest warrant but France’s President Macron, China’s Xi Jiping and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have no excuse.

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