U2 frontman Bono told the U.N. Monday that it and other international institutions — including the European Union and NATO — are under threat in these “troubled times,” and nations must work together to defend them.
The singer gave a speech described by The Associated Press as “sobering” to several hundred U.N. diplomats and staff at an event launching Ireland’s candidacy for a seat on the Security Council, in 2021-22 saying “you can count on Ireland to do its part in that work.”
While Bono did not name any countries responsible for that threat, his words were implicitly directed at President Trump, who has often criticized the EU and recently sent letters to leaders of several NATO nations, warning them to increase their defense spending. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/02/world/europe/trump-nato.html
Speaking of the United Nations, Bono said, “I love that it exists, and I’ll tell you, I don’t take for granted that it exists, or that it will continue to exist because let’s be honest, we live in a time when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.” He then included the EU, NATO and the Group of Seven major industrialized nations in his comments.
“And not just these institutions but what they stand for — an international order based on shared values and shared rules, an international order that is facing the greatest test in its 70-year history,” Bono said. “Not just these institutions but what they’ve achieved is at risk.”
At the Irish government’s invitation, ambassadors from other U.N. member nations attended U2’s closing concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, as part of the country’s push for a council seat. “It was unusual having a load of ambassadors jumping up and down at a rock and roll show,” Bono joked. “At least you weren’t shouting at each other, so that was good.”
He also shared some humorous comments about the two counties vying against Ireland for two seats reserved for Western nations on the Security Council: Canada and Norway. He praised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “a remarkable leader who’s put together the most diverse Cabinet on the planet,” adding, “That Canada is nice is the worst thing I can say about them.” And “who could ask for a better neighbor or committed peacemaker?” than Norway, he said. “Here’s the worst thing I can say about them, they’re tall. They’re too tall,” he said.