December 14, 2006

Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you...

Ban Ki-moon was sworn in today as the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, officially ending the decade-long term of his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

Today, Mr Ban pledged to "be mindful of... loyalty, discretion, and conscience" and to "set the highest ethical standards..."

Even if all he does is remind people that taking bribes is a bad thing, he'll already be miles ahead of Mr. Annan's repugnant term at the helm.

The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal reminds us of the words and deeds of the UN under Annan's direction:

...When Mr. Annan was named Secretary General 10 years ago, he did so as the U.S.-backed candidate of reform. Jesse Helms, then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Mr. Annan that "if you choose to be an agent of real and deep-seated change, you will find many supporters--and even allies--here in the U.S. Congress."

Senator Helms's expectations were not met. Seven years later--thanks to U.S. military action that Mr. Annan did everything in his power to prevent--we learned that he had presided over the greatest bribery scheme in history, known as Oil for Food. We learned that Benon Sevan, Mr. Annan's trusted confidant in charge of administering the program, had himself been a beneficiary of Iraqi kickbacks to the tune of $160,000. We learned that Mr. Annan's chief of staff, Iqbal Riza, had ordered potentially incriminating documents to be destroyed. We learned that Mr. Annan and his deputy, Louise Frechette, were both aware of the kickback scheme but failed to report it to the Security Council, as their fiduciary duties required. However, we haven't yet learned whether the senior Annan illegally helped his son Kojo obtain a discounted Mercedes, an issue on which the Secretary General has stonewalled reporters.

Earlier this year, Mr. Annan was also forced to place eight senior U.N. procurement officials on leave pending investigations on bribery and other charges. Vladimir Kuznetsov, the head of the U.N. budget-oversight committee, was indicted this year on money-laundering charges. Alexander Yakovlev, another procurement official, pled guilty to skimming nearly $1 million off U.N. contracts. The U.N.'s own office of Internal Oversight found that U.N. peacekeeping operations had mismanaged some $300 million in expenditures.


Mr. Annan came to office after a stint as head of U.N. peacekeeping operations. The period corresponded with the massacre in Srebenica of 7,000 Bosnians and the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, both of which were facilitated by the nonfeasance of peacekeepers on the ground. It was later revealed that Mr. Annan's office explicitly forbade peacekeepers from raiding Hutu arms caches in Rwanda just four months before the genocide.

The world's worst man-made humanitarian catastrophes have since taken place in Zimbabwe, North Korea, Congo and Darfur. Mr. Annan has been mostly silent about the first two, perhaps on the time-honored U.N. principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states other than the U.S. In the Congo, U.N. peacekeepers haven't stopped the bloodshed, but they have made themselves notorious as sexual predators.

Funny what can happen when a ball-less, incompetent, selfish mis-manager takes over a large organization, no?

These are the facts, folks.  Under Annan's "leadership" the UN has failed.  In Darfur, in Congo, in Somalia.  In Kosovo and Rwanda and the middle east.  And these failures can all be traced to one person: Kofi Annan.

In a global community the objective SHOULD be the protection of human rights and promotion of tolerance and communication.  Under Annan, the UN's objective appeared to be "anything that makes the US look bad". 

By default, that attitude prevents the neediest among us (like the Darfuris) from receiving the help that would otherwise be freely offered.

Ask the Kosovars.

Mr Annan has singlehandedly brought the UN from an organization of hope, that had the possibility of effecting real global change to a mockery of its former self.

Opinion Journal says it more eloquently than I can:

Mr. Annan came to power at a moment when it was at least plausible to believe that a properly reformed U.N. could serve the purposes it was originally meant to serve: to be a guarantor of collective security and a moral compass in global affairs. Mr. Annan's legacy is that nobody can entertain those hopes today.
So Long, Kofi. Please enjoy a very restful retirement somewhere far away from the media. And while you're at it, see if you can convince your buddy Jimmeh to join you.

h/t Lex

Posted by caltechgirl at December 14, 2006 12:56 PM | TrackBack