“…and ask, Why Not?”

In UNA-USA’s The InterDependent, Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to the UN (1989-92) and now a senior VP with Boeing, remarks to Barbara Crossette that…

“Some years ago…Many of us thought that it was soon going to be the time when the organization should consider whether regional rotation continued to make sense. It obviously limited the number of potential candidates…The interesting thing now is that all the regions of the world have had their candidates serving as secretary-general. This would be an appropriate time to cut loose from that old tradition and open it up. One would hope that at the same time, gender barriers, which seem to have become fairly rigid in connection with this office, would also break down.”

In this month’s Harper’s, Brooking’s Parag Khanna makes an interesting case for throwing out, in one fell swoop, both the regional rotation and the abstention of P5 nationals in running for the post of SG:

“Simply watching any clip of the man in action overseas will demonstrate that America today has not one single citizen even remotely approaching his ability to develop a rapport with foreign leaders — and there is no replacement in sight. The choice for President Bush, therefore, is not betwen any American and a non-American but between Bill Clinton and a non-American. Given Bush’s patriotic instincts, this should be no choice at all. President Bush must be made to realize that changing the secretary-general is intimately linked to changing the U.N.’s culture and to reconciling the world body with the U.S. Certainly Clinton would use the bully pulpit to try to force the Bush Administration to respect international norms, but Bush would still be doing his party a big favor, particularly if Hillary runs for the White House in 2008. As she seeks to build a political dynasty in Washington to counter the Bushes’, having Bill Clinton at the U.N. would eliminate Republicans’ concerns about having him back at the White House, even as First Man to Hillary. Democrats are desperate for some kind of influence on foreign policy, and Republicans are obsessed with a U.N. cleanup. There is no credible competition for the job from Asia or any other region, and many countries are seeking a candidate who could counter [U.S. Ambassador John] Bolton’s wrath. With the U.N. itself so desperate to find a comprehensive mandate for the future, the combination of so many colliding interests yields only one compromise greater than another lowest common denominator — and he already lives in New York.”

2 Responses to ““…and ask, Why Not?””

  1. […] The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times this morning echoed Harper Magazine’s exploration last January of Bill Clinton as the next UNSG, but with a more immediate, and amusing, political implication. “The best thing Hillary Rodham Clinton could do for humanity is not run for president. Nothing against her personally, mind you; it’s just that her aspirations could get in the way of her husband’s worthier ones.” […]

  2. […] Last January, Harper’s Magazine took a serious look at Bill Clinton as a candidate for UNSG. This morning, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times added an amusing twist to the possibility that poses a challenge to domestic politics… and maybe to domestic bliss too!  “The best thing Hillary Rodham Clinton could do for humanity is not run for president. Nothing against her personally, mind you; it’s just that her aspirations could get in the way of her husband’s worthier ones.” […]

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