Robert O'Brien | All Articles

Robert O
Robert O'Brien
Former US Representative to the UN
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      Robert O'Brien

      Robert O’Brien is the partner-in-charge of the Arent Fox Los Angeles office. His practice focuses on commercial litigation and domestic and international arbitration, including intellectual property, entertainment, complex business disputes and election law matters for Fortune 500 corporations, privately held companies and individuals.

      President George W. Bush nominated and the US Senate confirmed Robert as the US Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which met in New York 2005-2006. In addition to his other duties as a US delegate, he addressed the General Assembly on the question of Palestine and represented the United States in the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which considered the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
      From 1996 to 1998, Robert was a legal officer with the United Nations Security Council (Compensation Commission) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he led a multinational team of attorneys, loss adjusters and accountants in the government claims (F) section and was responsible for the Secretariat’s review and processing of billions of dollars in claims resulting from Iraq’s 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
      Robert served as a major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the US Army Reserve. In 1990, he was a judicial extern-clerk to the Honorable J.P. Vukasin Jr. in the Northern District of California.

Key SOTU takeaway: The sequester is happening, and it’s going to hit the Navy hard

President Obama’s State of the Union address made it clear that sequestration is coming to the United States Armed Forces. President Obama acknowledged in his speech that “these sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.” He then attempted to lay the blame for the sequester on Congress, stating, “In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year.”

My predictions for Super Tuesday

12:38 PM 03/05/2012

On Tuesday, the Republican nominating process moves into high gear with contests in 10 states. Mitt Romney, who has pulled off five straight wins, has the momentum. That momentum is reflected in the latest Gallup tracking poll, which puts Romney up by 16 points over Rick Santorum. Here are my predictions for your Super Tuesday office pool.

American aircraft carriers remain essential to commanding the seas

1:09 PM 09/16/2011

Last month, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis rendezvoused in the Pacific with Carrier Strike Group-3, which is composed of the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the USS Pinckney, USS Kidd, USS Dewey and USS Wayne Meyer. Carrier Strike Group-3 will soon take up station in the Arabian Sea to support American combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. En route, the carrier and its escorts have shown the flag in the Philippines and Malaysia and sailed boldly through the South China Sea, which China has basically declared its own lake in violation of international maritime law. Both missions are critical to the United States and are possible only because the Navy maintains the capability to deploy strike groups built around super carriers such as the Stennis.

The Korean crisis demonstrates the need for a strong United States Navy

11:10 AM 11/29/2010

In response to North Korea’s unprovoked and brutal artillery attack on a South Korean fishing village earlier this week, President Obama did what American presidents have done for over half a century -- he dispatched a carrier strike group to the crisis zone.  The USS George Washington and its escort ships will patrol the Yellow Sea to reassure our Korean allies and serve notice upon North Korea that it is within reach of American naval airpower.  Such an option may not be available to Mr. Obama’s successors, however, if the administration’s deep cuts to the Navy’s shipbuilding budget continue.

Welcome to the UNGA

3:53 PM 09/21/2010

My 13-year-old son, who is far more interested in sports than politics, walked into the family room yesterday and said: “Dad, I saw on the news that the thing is starting when all the dictators come to America and give speeches about how bad we are.”  His statement is one of the better descriptions of the United Nations General Assembly (the UNGA) that I have ever heard.

GOP candidates give lie to liberals’ “anti-intellectual” smears

1:49 PM 09/07/2010

Facing a wave election in which even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has acknowledged the Democrats’ likely loss of the House of Representatives in November (analysis confirmed this week by Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato), the left, aided by its friends in the press, has unleashed its bi-annual assault on the intellectual bona fides of the GOP in an attempt to hang onto power.

The world ignores Hillary Clinton as the Obama administration slashes US defenses

8:57 AM 08/04/2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears at least to be trying to restore American prestige abroad.  Talking tough in Asia last week, she stared across the DMZ and told the North Koreans to back off.  In Vietnam she asserted that the United States still had a “national interest” in the region.  She intimated that America would not allow China to bully ASEAN nations into giving up their rights in the South China Sea or restrict our freedom of navigation through one of the world’s busiest oceans.  It is striking that Clinton, the most liberal Secretary of State since Cyrus Vance, is the most hawkish member of the administration’s national security team.

The Obama administration’s cuts to the U.S. Navy imperil critical missions

2:22 PM 07/15/2010

The United States Navy is drastically shrinking due to the serious cuts the Obama administration is making to the shipbuilding budget.  As set forth in the Navy’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the service requires a minimum of 313 ships to accomplish its many missions.  Today, however, the Navy is operating just 286 warships.  Given President Obama’s plans to further cut the defense budget, the number of ships in the Navy is certain to continue to decline below even the current number with very negative consequences for the United States; one area that is significantly impacted is America’s amphibious assault capacity.