Ban Makes U.N. Candidacy Official

Ban Ki-Moon, South Korea’s Foreign Minister, chief promoter of appeasement of the North, and occasional provider of adult supervision to Roh Moo-Hyun’s government, is making official what has been known for months: he wants to be U.N. Secretary General. He would succeed Kofi Annan, who presided over the Oil-for-Food scandal, a procurement scandal, sexual abuse scandals, and several partially successful genocides without being driven out of office in shame (as if).

Expect the Bush Administration to work quietly, behind the scenes, to block Ban’s ascendancy–particularly if it wants to preserve the option of U.N. action regarding North Korea, something Ban would inevitably oppose. More broadly, Ban represents a continuation of the same mindset that has badly eroded the U.N.’s effectiveness and its reputation.

If only we could talk Vaclav Havel into running . . . .

Update:   The Joongang Ilbo discusses the story in somewhat more depth, and let’s all join in wishing Mr. Ban luck on this endeavor:

Shortly after the announcement, Mr. Ban told reporters that he was seeking international and domestic support for his bid, and had called officials in Tokyo to that end. “I am thankful that Japan has said that the next secretary general should come from the Asian region,” he said. “I hope Japan will look at this in light of a future-oriented South Korea-Japan relationship.” Seoul has opposed Japan’s bid to become a permanent UN Security Council member, citing a lack of reflection by Japan on its imperial past.

It’s got to be difficult to  ask for  Japan’s support while still appealing to nationalist sentiment at home.  There’s also plenty of competition for Ban:

Seoul is not the only nation to be doing some private arm-twisting. Other possible candidates, either officially announced or disclosed in leaks to the media, include the Thai deputy prime minister, Surakiart Sathirathai; the foreign minister of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, who also has a Nobel peace prize on his resume; Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zeid Raed Hussein; the Turkish head of the UN Development Program, Kemal Dervis, and Jayanta Dhanapals of Sri Lanka, who has served in the past as the UN’s chief disarmament official and his country’s ambassador to the United States. Poland’s former president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

John Bolton hasn’t expressed views on any particular candidate, although he’s  declared his agnosticism about  the idea that the interests of regional balance require the next GS to come from Asia.  Could that suggest that the U.S. isn’t terribly fond of any of the Asian candidates?

5 Comments

  1. You know, sometimes “objectionable” candidates work, because the objecting party can give blessing in return for a promise or two.




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  2. Ban has a good chance of being selected, especially if China backs him. China is insisting on an Asian to be Secretary General, and it can block any candidate who isn’t Asian.




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  3. Yep. And the United States can block any candidate who is. Meaning the UN ceases to function. Meaning absolutely nothing changes, really.




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  4. I’d vote for him.

    He is the perfect candidate for the position. Kofi’s shoes will be hard to fill, but Ban may be just the ticket.

    A man who stands for nothing at all and has no prinicples should be at the head of an organization that stands for nothing at all and has no principles.

    It’s a match made in heaven, and would allow all the world’s remaining dictatorships to continue functioning at least as well as they do at present without interference from silly little human rights organizations or other such democratic nonsense.

    What more could we hope for from the UN?




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  5. Improving North Korea is a major motivation for Mr. Ban’s candidacy for the UN.

    According to International Herald Tribune :

    the country hopes that the election of Ban, who has spent much of his time in recent years on trying to persuade North Korea to open up, would add more international focus to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

    “If I am elected UN secretary general, I expect that it will have positive effects on efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue,” Ban told a news conference on Tuesday.

    For that reason, it might be good to have Mr. Ban lead the UN.




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