Mark Leon Goldberg

Mark Leon Goldberg is the executive editor of UN Dispatch and host of the "Global Dispatches" podcast.

Recent Articles

Bolton From the Blue

About halfway through Senator Richard Lugar's droning opening statement in the May 12 confirmation hearing of John Bolton to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a yawn made its way around the press table. And it lingered -- until Lugar ceded the floor to the incalculable senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, when our listless eyes turned lively and the laptops fired to life. Would Voinovich break ranks and vote with the Democrats? Or would he duplicitously express his reservations before buckling to the administration's will? As we now know, it was something in between. Voinovich may have enabled Bolton to scrape his way through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and move to the full Senate for a floor vote, but he nevertheless made himself an ally of those seeking to defeat Bolton's nomination. “Once we lost [Lincoln] Chaffee and [Chuck] Hagel, there was never a possibility of killing it in committee,” said Don Kraus of Citizens for Global Solutions, a membership...

Zoellick's Appeasement Tour

On April 14, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick became the highest ranking U.S. envoy to set foot on Sudanese soil since Secretary of State Colin Powell's September 2004 declaration that the government of Sudan was complicit in an ongoing genocide in the Darfur region. The presence of such a senior U.S. envoy in the country held great promise for progress on Darfur. With enough pressure, the regime in Khartoum may yet decide to reign in its local Janjaweed (the Arab militia in Sudan) allies and stop its fleet of Antonov fighter jets and helicopter gunships from further targeting civilian enclaves in Darfur. The significance of Zoellick's trip was not lost on Sudan's main power broker, first Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha. As Al Kamen reported in The Washington Post on April 22, Taha led Zoellick on a mini tour of the presidential palace upon the latter's arrival and paused at the stairwell where British Major-General Charles George Gordon, a k a Gordon of Khartoum, was...

Conversion Diversion

By now, John Bolton's crass assessment of the utility of 10 floors of the UN building in New York is well known. Known, too, is his disdain for the very idea of international law and his dealings with foreign agents. Indeed, in his decades in and out of public service and think tankdom, he has developed a reputation as one of Washington, D.C.'s less diplomatic figures. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are poised to unite in their opposition to Bolton, whom the president has nominated as United States ambassador to the United Nations. They may be joined by one of three Republican moderates on the committee -- Chuck Hagel, Dick Lugar, or Lincoln Chafee -- thereby preventing the committee from recommending Bolton to the full Senate. The challenge for Democrats is to prove Bolton's radicalism to these swayable Republicans at Thursday's confirmation hearing. But Bolton has fought this battle before. In President George W. Bush's first term, Bolton narrowly won...

Open Season on Aid Workers?

To the extent that anyone who is shot in the face can be considered fortunate, Marian Spivey-Estrada can count her lucky stars. On March 21, the 26-year-old United States Agency for International Development (USAID) worker from Henderson, Kentucky, was traveling in a humanitarian convoy en route to a refugee camp in the south Darfur region of Sudan when her vehicle came under attack. Details of the ambush are still murky. But in the volley of gunfire that ensued, Spivey-Estrada was the only member of her Disaster Assistance Relief Team to get hit. Miraculously, the bullet missed her central nervous system. Medical workers in her convoy treated her on the scene, and African Union (AU) monitors evacuated her to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where her condition is holding stable. On Sunday, she was flown back to the United States and will undergo reconstructive surgery. Though a senior USAID official was killed outside his home in Amman, Jordan, in 2002, Spivey-Estrada is the first...

Anatomy of a Genocide

Brian Steidle understands the anatomy of a genocide. As one of three American State Department contractors on the African Union's (AU) monitoring team in Sudan, the 28-year-old former Marine captain witnessed the systematic destruction of villages in south Darfur in late 2004. He's now working with Gretchen Steidle Wallace (his sister), who runs a nongovernmental organization (NGO) called Global Grassroots Network to raise awareness about the government of Sudan's complicity in the Darfur genocide. On March 15, between meetings with Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and an appearance on Wolf Blitzer Reports , Captain Steidle sat down with American Prospect writing fellow Mark Leon Goldberg at a coffee shop in Arlington, Virginia. Can you describe what happens when a village is attacked? Are there common elements of a modus operandi? The majority of the time, a fighter plane comes in and circles around a village to conduct reconnaissance. Then the helicopter gunships move in,...

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