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March 30, 2005

Kofi Medicine
Posted by The Editors

Derek:  I think Annan's going to survive this.   Norm Coleman is not the ruler of the universe, and having already slapped the UN in the face with the Bolton appointment, I don't see the Administration going after Annan right now.  And the SYG won't go unless he's pushed hard.  Boutros-Ghali fought for his life even after the UN's greatest sympathizers in Washington made it clear that he had lost their confidence.  If anyone really has time on their hands, his book Unvanquished (written after he had been vanquished) makes interesting reading on the U.S.-UN relationship--I actually read it before starting work at the US Mission to the UN on trying to settle our dues.

Pragmatically speaking, there's no question it's in the U.S.'s interests to keep Annan in office. The Administration being up in arms over nepotism is about as hypocritical as Tom Delay and Rick Santorum--both revealed this week to have been plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases involving family members--leading the charge against the trial lawyers.  Kojo's mistake was not calling up Liz Cheney, Michael Powell, Eugene Scalia, Strom Thurmond, Jr., Janet Rehnquist...(for lots more examples look here) to get some advice on how this sort of thing is done.   

More importantly, though he's made a few dumb mistakes, Annan's tenure has, in all, been a very good thing for the U.S.   We installed him to replace Boutrous-Ghali because, while he is of the developing world and has credibility among those delegations, he does not share the anti-Western and anti-Israel bias that so many of them betray.   While the organization is in deep doo, Annan has racked up some successes:  he revived UN peacekeeping and has avoided Srebrenica-style debacles; he's been more of a reformer than any of his predecessors were--and he's genuinely trying to push a lot farther ahead now; he has consistently paid an awful lot of attention to US demands and concerns (see my earlier post about just how pro-US his reform package is). 

Annan has only 18 months left on his term.  From what I can tell, the rest of the world is far less obsessed with Kojogate than we are.  If we push him out, they will do all they can to reward us with someone worse.  I agree that Kofi is weakened, and that his oversights have undermined the UN at a time when the organization can ill afford further scandal.   Rather than trying to run him out of office, the U.S. should focus on pushing through his reform package, and finding a successor that is as U.S.-friendly as Annan but a better leader.   

How 'bout we offer the membership this deal: Annan serves out his term, but in return gets replaced by Bill Clinton?  Everyone will be up in arms because its technically Asia's "turn" at the SYGship in 2008, but those who care about the organization might just recognize this as a way to ensure it survives and thrives. 


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So why should the other powers go along with this ?

The US picked annan , now wants rid of him and so should get to pick again ?

Given the EU pays for around 40% of the UN budget i would imagine they'd regard it as their turn to pick.

Why should the EU be given the pick?? The EU may collectively pay 40% of the UN's budget, but the United States pays a huge chunk of the UN's budget too. The United States pays 57% of the World Food Program, 17% of United Nations Children's Fund, 14% of the core budget of United Nations Development Program, and 33% United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As an individual nation, the United State's taxpayers pays more than any other country. And our "beloved" Bill Clinton picked Annan, not the American public. We should pick a American born person to the Secretary-General, seeing how not one has. And hopefully, a United States picked Secretary-General would restore some trust in the UN from the American public.

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