POLITICO Playbook PM: Why the UN General Assembly lost its teeth

ACROSS THE POUND — “Biden, other VIPs lie low as spotlight stays on late Queen,” by AP’s Darlene Superville in London

— WATCH: “World leaders mourn Queen Elizabeth II at funeral, in 180 seconds”

— The Washingtonian’s Sylvie McNamara went to The Queen Vic bar on DC’s H Street for the funeral this morning, where she live-blogged the scene.

UNGA IS DEAD. LONG LIVE UNGA. —Our colleague Ryan Heath is in New York this week and has a good piece up today examining the state of the UN General Assembly. He begins with this sharp line: “If everyone who turns up to the United Nations General Assembly really cared about the things they say they care about, wouldn’t the world be a better place by now?”

“After decades of progress in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes, in recent years the world has started falling far behind in efforts to meet the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), agreed to by all governments in 2015. On some issues, including gender equality, the world is going backwards .

“So what, then, is the point of 150 heads of state and government gathering in New York this week? And can a series of side summits — convening everyone from Clinton administration alums to tech activists to European royals — change anything?”

“Often it’s about seeing and being seen,” Ryan writes. “What was once a chance for national leaders to deliver speeches on a global stage or grab the US president’s ear in a corridor is now a late-summer version of Davos, but bigger.”

Here’s a taste of what UNGA watchers are saying:

— Gates Foundation CEO MARK SUZMAN: “Rich countries are distracted. There’s not a lot of focus.”

— International Rescue Committee President/CEO DAVID MILIBAND: “UNGA has become a gabfest.”

— Rockefeller Foundation senior VP for innovation ZIA KHAN: “It’s a giant petri dish where everyone’s colliding, but to actually get something done, you need a plan and a deadline for after the UNGA buzz dies down.”

ALSO HAPPENING THIS WEEK — The Fed is set to meet on Wednesday and market watchers are awaiting more significant action from the central bank to address spiking inflation. AP’s Christopher Rugaber has the preview: “The Fed is expected at its latest meeting to raise its key short-term rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for the third consecutive time. Another hike that large would lift its benchmark rate — which affects many consumer and business loans — to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level in 14 years.”

WSJ’s Nick Timiraos has a look at what is guiding chairJEROME POWELL’s leadership, which is looking a lot like that of former Chair PAUL VOLCKER. “The moment underscores the Fed chairman’s rapid about-face during one of the most tumultuous periods for the economy and central bank since the 1970s. After championing an aggressive stimulus campaign just 12 months ago, he has this year led the most rapid tightening of monetary policy since the early 1980s.”

THE LATEST ON FIONA — “Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in Dominican Republic,” CNN: “Heavy rains from Fiona will continue to produce life-threatening and catastrophic flooding along with mudslides and landslides across Puerto Rico through tonight, the hurricane update said. Life-threatening flash and urban flooding is likely for eastern portions of the Dominican Republic through early Tuesday.”

— The White House’s Spanish-language Twitter account, @LaCasaBlanca,released a statement from Biden, translated here: “Jill and I keep the people of Puerto Rico in our prayers as Hurricane Fiona passes over your beautiful island. We stand with you and we will get through this together.”

Good Monday afternoon.


MORE FROM THE NYT/SIENA POLL — “Inflation Remains Voters’ Top Concern. Can Republicans Keep Their Focus?” by Jonathan Weisman: “A New York Times/Siena poll released on Friday had bright spots for Democrats, but 49 percent of respondents said that ‘economic issues such jobs, taxes or the cost of living’ were likely to determine their votes in November , compared with 31 percent who saw ‘social issues such as abortion, guns or democracy’ as decisive. And 52 percent of registered voters said they agreed with Republicans on the economy, versus 38 percent who said they agreed with Democrats.”

GEORGIA ON MY MIND — “Georgia Republicans aim to beat Democrats at their own ‘ground game,’” by AJC’s Greg Bluestein

Republican Gov. BRIAN KEMP on the Dems’ ground game: “We’ve got to outwork them. And I’ll be honest with you: They’ve been outworking us the last four or five cycles.”

2026 WATCH — Rep. RONNY JACKSON (R-Texas) is reportedly considering a challenge to Sen. JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas) when the powerful Republican is next up for reelection, the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports.

“Cornyn has taken a hit with Republican voters in the state after he led GOP negotiations on the bipartisan gun restriction bill that Congress passed after the Uvalde school shooting in May,” Svitek writes. “At the same time, Jackson has emerged as one of the top fundraisers in the delegation, collecting $3.8 million so far this election cycle — a hefty amount for a member in a safe seat.”

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS — Republicans in Wisconsin are “recruiting a fresh batch of poll watchers to monitor voting in November as part of a revamped response to allegations of election fraud that roiled the latest presidential contest,” WSJ’s Alexa Corse reports from Green Bay. “Many Republican voters are heading into the midterms still skeptical about the results of the 2020 election, and the Republican Party is encouraging them to channel those concerns into activism by volunteering to monitor the polls. Some Republicans view the effort as a way to ensure that Mr. Trump’s fraud claims don’t prompt supporters to skip the election altogether because of doubts about the validity of the process.”

HOW IT’S PLAYING IN SOUTH FLORIDA — “Venezuelans’ reaction to DeSantis’ migrant flights reflects several immigration views,” by Miami Herald’s Veronica Egui Brito

HISTORY IN THE MAKING —AP’s Steve LeBlanc writes from Boston that “2022 is shaping up to be a watershed year for women seeking political power in Massachusetts, a state that despite its liberal reputation has lagged when it comes to electing women to top offices. … The nominations continue a trend that saw MICHELLE WU become the first woman and first Asian American elected mayor of Boston last year. If Healey were to win in November, she wouldn’t be the state’s first female governor, but she would be the first woman to be elected to the post.”


HELPFUL EXPLAINER — “The Story So Far: Where 6 Investigations Into Donald Trump Stand,” by NYT’s Peter Baker


BACK TO WORK — “US Return-to-Office Rates Hit Pandemic High as More Employers Get Tougher,” WSJ


COMING HOME — US officials secured the release of MARK FRERICHS in a prisoner swap deal after the American was held captive in Afghanistan for over two years. “HAJI BASHIR NORSAIA, a prominent member of the Taliban, who was in prison in the US on drug trafficking charges for 17 years, was granted clemency as part of the deal, the official said,” per CNN’s Kylie Atwood, Ehsan Popalzai, AnneClaire Stapleton and Devan Cole . Frerichs, a Navy veteran from Illinois, was kidnapped in late January 2020 while he was doing construction contract work in Afghanistan. He was believed to be held by the Haqqani network, which is a faction of the Taliban.”

PELOSI ABROAD —Gabriel Gavin has the report from Speaker NANCY PELOSIS visit to Yerevan, Armenia: “Crowds lined the streets of Yerevan hours before Nancy Pelosi’s fleet of seven slick black cars pulled into the center of the Armenian capital on Sunday. Waving American flags, thousands of people turned out to catch a glimpse of the speaker of the House of Representatives as she paid a historic visit to the Caucasian nation, becoming the highest-ranking US official to do so since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.”

FOR YOUR RADAR — The Pentagon is undergoing an extensive review of “how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the US military in violation of the platforms’ rules,” WaPo’s Ellen Nakashima reports.


A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING — Despite Biden’s assertion on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that the pandemic is “over,” there is apparently still a steady drumbeat of Americans receiving their first coronavirus vaccine shots, WSJ’s Jared Hopkins writes. “All together, the seven-day average for adults getting first shots each day ranged between roughly 15,000 and 18,000 in late August, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


AP: “Ukraine warns of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after strike near plant”

WSJ: “Ukraine Forces Take Control of Key River Bank, Extending Advance in East”

NYT: “Food Supply Disruption Is Another Front for Russian Falsehoods”


TRANSITIONS — Xiomara Santos is now director of government relations at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. She previously was state campaigns manager at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. … Pascal Saint-Amans is joining the Brunswick Group as a partner. He previously was director of the Center for Tax Policy and Administration at The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. … Katy Milner is now a partner in the global regulatory & intellectual property, media & technology practice group for Hogan Lovells. She previously was a partner with Wiley Rein LLP.

Jonathan Walker is now VP, diversity, equity and inclusion with the Association of American Publishers. He previously was senior assistant dean for student services, diversity, equity, and inclusion with George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs

WEEKEND WEDDING — Kelsey Kemper Valentine, general partner of Family Futures and CFO of the Institute for Education, and Max Dickinson, founder and owner of MXD Services, got married at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe on Saturday. The ceremony was officiated by George Zaidan in the Rose Garden, followed by dinner and dancing on the croquet lawn under the stars, followed by guests jumping into the pool at midnight. The two met in 2014 at USC when their sisters set them up. Pic Another pic

SPOTTED: Coach “Kathy” Kemper, Ron and Wendy Dickinson, Hanna Dickinson, Todd and Amy Park, John Paul Farmer, R. David and Joanne Edelman, Ross Dakin, Vas Bailey, Christina Kemper Valentine, Travis Valentine, Roberta Buono, Wyatt Meldman-Floch and Kyle Conlee.

BIRTHWEEK (was Sunday): Natural Product Association’s Kyle Turk (3-0)

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