Forgotten Issue and Major Candidate Concern: The United Nations and “Publicity”
 The coming decade looks to be a time of testing for the
United Nations and for the U.S. relationship to it. In the
current political debate period discussion about this occurs only
in coded, veiled, and vague speech revolving around unilateralism
and multilateralism or global leadership and "no 'global test'
under my watch," and the like.
 Influential conservative political commentator George Will
states his case boldly: "The United Nations is not a good idea
badly implemented, it is a bad idea." Clearly Will seeks to
end it, not mend it. To the right of Will are the leading
neo-con, "hegemonic" theorists of the Project for the New
American Century and the like. They equally disdain the
U.N. but are shrewder. They promote only an "expedient"
multilateralism and an expedient relationship to the U.N.
They seek neither to mend it nor end it but to use it and in
reality to abuse it for imperial purposes.
 In The Structure of Nations and Empires Reinhold
Niebuhr states that power and prestige are the two structuring
components of nations and empires, what Harvard's Joseph Nye calls
"hard power" and "soft power." If it is ethically sufficient
that the structure of nations and empires should depend upon only a
healthy dialectic of power and prestige, then it is unlikely that
the United Nations will be sufficiently mended. This leaves
the "enders" and "abusers" in the driver's seat. Indeed,
given only these two components, was Niebuhr able qualitatively to
distinguish between nations and empires, or was this distinction
merely one of quantitative size? And if the nation/empire
distinction is only a quantitative distinction, is it ethically OK
for the United States to advance its calling as an empire?
And if so, then what becomes of the U.N.?
 Perhaps to Niebuhr's "power and prestige" we ought to add a
third indispensable component. I suggest "publicity."
Of course, publicity cannot be understood in the sense of public
relations ploys functioning as propaganda. Rather, a public
ethic of "publicity" promotes the full public
accountability-transparency, truth-telling, and testing-of nations
to each other within the United Nations, to the international rule
of law, and to the wider global civil society. A robust
public ethic of publicity provides the needed ingredient to mend,
not end and not abuse, the United Nations. Doesn't our United
States of America need the same and in spades? A robust
public ethic of power, prestige, and publicity
distinguishes clearly between nations and empires, becoming thereby
a basis for a sorely needed public vocation of "one nation among
all the nations under God."