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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So We Have a New UN Secretary-General...Is the World Worried?

I find it rather cute that it would be a South Korean that will take on the North Koreans at the UN for having launched their bomb, bringing back memories to contemporaries of the fifties and aficionados of diplomatic history the quasi inter-necine conflict between North and South Korea in 1950. This same conflict ironically saw the using of the Uniting for Peace Resolution that threw power, in the event of a deadlocked Security Council, to the much-vilified General Assembly.

I have opined elsewhere that in March 2003, international public opinion was -- appropriately in a manner much akin to the Ides of March -- stabbed in the back, when UK premier Tony Blair pulled off the greatest act of mendacity and sophistry by claiming Iraq could launch weapons in 45 minutes.

He would defy calls for resignation, and obtain by a slim vote of Parliament, carte blanche to join the US in its filibustering adventure, leaving 3 years-plus later, many dead Iraqis in its wake. That Saddam Hussein was captured in a hole was practically the sole vindication of the UK-US filibustering

But I digress.

Numerous challenges face the the new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will be visiting one of the permanent members of the Security Council, China, from 27 to 28 October at the invitation of the Chinese government.

An article in the latest UK-based Prospect magazine entitled The Decline of Kofi, is not just acerbic and incisive, but rather odd, coming from a veteran former UN employee of 20years experience. His consistent castigation of Annan prompts personal speculation that he might just have an agenda. Check this:

"Annan brought a new dimension to the function of secretary-general. Rather than doing little but doing it well, in the absence of anything to do in the political arena, he did nothing but did it very well. The little that could have been done as regards management was left undone. "

Even for a Ghanaian like myself, I admit Annan made more than very serious blunders, such as in Rwanda, when he was under-secretary-general, and in a position to have been more proactive, despite American refusal to call Rwanda "genocide". I have a whole BBC Panorama tape, recorded in 1998 from BBC1, to celebrate human rights day (9 December) and highlight the egregious strategy deployed by the UN in Rwanda

Coupled with Rwanda, which I consider his biggest faux pas are some questions surrounding how his 34-yr-old son was able to use Annan's diplomatic status to bring a Mercedes into Ghana - duty-free. I understand he eventually had to pay for it...

"Annan's problems were compounded by the wheeling and dealing of his son Kojo. Kofi had been given diplomatic status in Ghana, which exempted him from duties and income tax, and had contributed a quarter of the cost towards the purchase of a luxury Mercedes for Kojo. An outcry followed when the British press discovered that the car had been imported duty-free in Kofi's name, forcing young Kojo to reimburse some US$6,000 to Ghanaian customs".

In any event, Ban Ki-Moon looks sufficiently pliable...for the Americans. Then again, that he is being invited by the Chinese might provide equally sufficient mental pabulum that he is probably not as acquiescent as he might look;-)

I, for one, shall be watching the new UN incumbency very carefully...

Happy UN-Day! (albeit one day late!)

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;


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