Conflict & Justice

The Delicate Diplomatic Dances at the UN

President Obama will be meeting with world leaders at the United Nations tomorrow. He will, no doubt, discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria, his relationship wtih Russia, and preventing nuclear weapons in Iran. He will address Prime Ministers, foreign dignitaries and monarchs at the General Assembly meeting.

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But it's the behind the scenes goings-on that will likely generate the most interest.

And one of the big questions is whether he will meet with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. "If you read the tea leaves" from the White House, said Joel Rubin, former US States Department official, "they're not ruling it out."

Rubin now works at the nonproliferation group, Ploughshares.

"Every minute is precious. A touch between Rouhani and Obama may only last 15 seconds, who knows, but that is an eternity in many ways in terms of how the public will be looking at it. A photo lasts and lasts and lasts. This is high stakes political diplomacy. Speeches are one thing, it's the action behind the scenes and around the coffee tables where the diplomacy takes place."