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March 30, 2005

But Should Kofi Go?
Posted by Derek Chollet

Suzanne, I agree with your disappointment in Kofi Annan, especially because of the great admiration I have for him.  That's why I've been struggling with the question if whether, even though the commission found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, it would still be better for the UN for him to go? 

I watched most of his press conference yesterday, and I have to say I was not thrilled with his performance.  He seemed too quick to declare victory, even though the commission blamed him for less-than-diligent management and sharply criticized the performance of two of his closest advisers (including for destroying documents).  His "hell no" answer seemed almost too defiant, leaving the impression that he considered himself bigger than his job.  Oddly enough, I would have liked to hear more along the modest lines of what Paul Wolfowitz has been saying about his position at the World Bank--that he is an international civil servant serving at the pleasure of the member states and will work like hell to gain and maintain their confidence, and if he can't, he's gone.  Maybe he's worried that any sign of weakness will snowball out of control, or maybe he's been told (as good crisis consultants have undoubtedly advised) to stand firm and wait until this blows over and the press and his enemies lose interest and move on.  My worry is that there's already too much blood in the water.   I want to be I? 


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