The UN's Annual Circus Comes to Town

Once a year, leaders from around the world leave their capitals behind them for a trip to the Big City, New York. What could pull these powerful men—and far fewer women—away from affairs of state? Is it the revival of Spamalot on Broadway? No, the opening is still a few weeks away. Could it be the glittering bars, restaurants, and hotels? The easy availability of the ingredients for every vice known to humanity? Is it simply the lights on Broadway?


It’s the one, the only United Nations General Assembly, which comes to town every September and plays to rave reviews—if you ask the delegates themselves. In reality, many of these leaders are addressing empty seats or facing interns sharpening their pencils for notes they may never take.

So, why come?

We’re going to tell you why with the help of Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group, who knows the arcane, backroom secrets of this annual get together of the powerful and—if they’re stealing—the rich.

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