Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Diplomacy and Global Issues in 2022

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield outlines the Biden Administration’s strategy for hot-button global issues and U.S. diplomacy.


Air Date: January 20, 2022

Moderator: Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ambassador to the United Nations, United States of America

When the Biden Administration began in January of 2021, it faced some tough international challenges, including climate change, social and economic inequality, regional conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Representative of the United States in the UN’s Security Council, has been at the forefront of these issues since she joined President Biden’s cabinet. She recently joined the U.S.Chamber of Commerce for a virtual InSTEP program to discuss the Biden Administration’s approach to diplomacy one year in, and how the United States is addressing these pressing global issues.

The UN Is Discouraging Russia from Invading Ukraine

One of the United Nation's top priorities as of January 2022, according to Thomas-Greenfield, is preventing a Russian invasion of Ukraine after an escalation of troops on the border. Thomas-Greenfield said she is constantly being briefed on the issue and has engaged with both Russia and China to let them know where the United States stands.

“We've been clear: Russia has two choices,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “It can go the diplomatic route and de-escalate [to] find a solution and a way forward. Or, it can go the escalation route [with] confrontation and … the strong response that we have told them they will receive should they go in that direction.”

“We're still hopeful that diplomacy will work and … that this situation will be one that we can all look back on and write about the importance of diplomacy,” Thomas-Greenfield added. “But we're prepared if diplomacy does not work.”

The United States and the UN Are Keeping Track of North Korea

North Korea made headlines when it tested ballistic missiles in September 2021. In response, the United States imposed sanctions on five North Koreans for their roles in curing goods for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The United States is currently working through the United Nations and other countries to find solutions to these launches, including a UN travel ban.

“We think we have to call them out for their aggressions,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “[This] is an area where we've had some disagreement with our Chinese counterparts. They still are insisting on giving the DPRK a pass for breaking security council resolutions [and] for not adhering to sanctions and resolutions that the entire council in unity agreed to.”

“As we speak right now, my colleagues in the [UN Security] Council are raising concerns about the DPRK,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

The United States Is Working with China Despite Tensions

For decades, there have been tensions in the relationship between the United States and China. As two of the world's largest superpowers, the two nations have to share their input on pressing global issues, including conflicts that are arising in Africa.

Thomas-Greenfield noted that, while there are disagreements between the two countries, they are committed to working with each other when needed.

“When we have areas of collaboration with China, we collaborate … well, but when we have differences we don't shy away from raising those differences,” said Thomas-Greenfield.

“We have been working very closely with our African colleagues to highlight the differences of approach that the U.S. has as it relates to Africa [when] compared to China,” she explained. “We are a country that [has] always put people first.”