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Taiwan, Central America and Jerusalem at the Heart of Great Power Intrigue

MIN READSep 27, 2018 | 10:00 GMT

The Security Council meets for a briefing on counterproliferation at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 26. The meetings have provided a backdrop for bigger countries to seek the support of smaller ones on controversial issues such as the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital or the retention of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

(ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

It's that time of year again: Journalists are stalking foreign leaders in midtown Manhattan hotel lobbies, flag-bearing motorcades are jamming up traffic and diplomats are carefully choreographing their walkouts and applause for the long lineup of speeches at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Whether you're a faithful believer in the United Nations' mission to uphold international law or a Hobbesian skeptic who sees the global body as mere pageantry for nation-states pursuing their own self-interests, that slender green glass building on the East River is still the world's busiest diplomatic bazaar. Chief among the biggest commodities hawked at the United Nations is diplomatic recognition, where even the tiniest and poorest of sovereigns are courted for their vote in the hopes of turning the tide at the head table, the U.N. Security Council. The big powers compete to set the global agenda on the main stage, while little powers haggle...

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