Sunday, December 05, 2004

Václav Havel to replace Kofi Annan

A week ago or so, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor from University of Tennessee, has published an article Time for a Kofi break in The Wall Street Journal

http://www.opinionjournal.com/ ...

in which he argues that Kofi Annan should be fired as the secretary-general of the United Nations. Reynolds argues that Kofi should be replaced by the former Czech president Václav Havel. See also

http://instapundit.com/ ...
http://rightpundit.com/ ...
http://platform.blogs.com/ ...

If you want to buy stickers "Havel 2005 UN secretary general", open this page:

http://siliconvalleyredneck.typepad.com/ ...

Reynolds summarizes various recent scandals of the United Nations - the "oil-for-food" program; passivity regarding Darfur and Ukraine; pedophilia and rape done by the UN peacekeeping forces. And he explains that Havel is a hero on behalf on freedom who said that one must fight against the Evil, even if it requires the use of force. Finally, Reynolds analyzes how much corrupted the United Nations are and whether they will be more likely to be reformed under a leader who has a more significant moral authority.

The current Polish president (Alexander Kwaszniewski) and the former US president (Bill Clinton) are somtimes mentioned as possibilities, too. Well, I like the idea with Havel. The only possible disadvantage I see is Havel's health which has not been great.

8 comments:

  1. You can't actually buy the bumper stickers, but you can download the PDF and print your own. If all else fails, use regular paper and tape the result inside the rear window of your car (which is actually what I did).

    Eric Wilner (Silicon Valley Redneck)

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  2. The "oil for food scandal" does not exist outside the conservative press innuendoes;

    To be more exact, the real scandal is that the UN security council members killed one million Iraqis. But there is nothing Kofi Annan could have done about that.

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  3. It seems to me that Kofi Annan has been doing, on balance, a pretty good job. These have been difficult times for the UN, as the US has challenged the established methods of the Security Council. Yet despite this, the UN is now the established organ of international approval, or lack thereof. While it is true that it is quite possible for countries to act without UN approval, for the first time in history the vast majority of the world's population immediately names a single organisation as the most effective judge of the validity of international action. The establishment of this moral authority is at least partly a result of the measured way in which Annan has handled recent events.

    Besides that, UN programmes for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance continue to grow and improve.

    What of Annan's supposed failings? The oil-for-food scandal is serious, and I think it needs to be looked at more closely. Nevertheless, UN sanctions certainly succeeded in preventing any Iraqi re-armament or development of weapons of mass destruction. As regards passivity, Annan has been very vocal on these issues -- but the UN can only commit forces that are provided by member nations, and these have not been provided.

    Lastly, abuses by UN soldiers: perhaps when it comes to holding top officials responsible for the actions of soldiers on the ground, we should ask Rumsfeld's opinion?

    PS. As a foreigner currently living in the US, I know some US readers may not agree with my opinions on world opinion. I think, though, that I'm right.

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  4. Dear Eric! Yes, I noticed that the website only had computer files, which is probably enough if you can print on stickers. ;-) But once again, if you like the idea: Havel's health is unfortunately really pretty poor...

    For the first anonymous contributor: the domain "fair.org" you refer to is very interesting. Two of its main five submenus are "counterspin" and "activism" and I almost feel afraid to open the page because it is full of radicalism. Thank you for your offer, but I will stay with "no spin" and "we report you decide". Note that even the contributor after you who is closer to the UN than the US says that the oil-for-food scandal is serious.

    The official Iraqi count of the Iraqi civilians killed or not saved since the invasion is between 14 and 16 thousand - and a large fraction was killed by the insurgents. Bombastic estimates (John Hopkins) put it near 100,000, but one million is ridiculous.

    To the last contributor: you don't really need a UNO to decide whether there is an international consensus about a military action. There will never be an international consensus of all countries, and who thinks that the UNO should decide assuming such a consensus is not understanding reality.

    The article itself mentioned that abuses by the US soldiers are much more interesting and cited than abuses by anyone else, and you just confirm this bias by your silly comment about Rumsfeld.

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  5. The first anonymous is referring to an estimated 1 million Iraqis who died prematurely during the 10 years of economic sanctions, imposed by the United Nations Security Council. Unicef estimates half a million Iraqi children under the age of 5 died because of the sanctions.

    I'm commenting not to defend these numbers, but simply to straighten out what the first anonymous poster was talking about.

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  6. The first anonymous is referring to an estimated 1 million Iraqis who died prematurely during the 10 years of economic sanctions, imposed by the United Nations Security Council. Unicef estimates half a million Iraqi children under the age of 5 died because of the sanctions.

    I'm commenting not to defend these numbers, but simply to straighten out what the first anonymous poster was talking about.

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  7. The establishment of this moral authority is at least partly a result of the measured way in which Annan has handled recent events.

    Are you kidding? You need to read about how he behaved during the Rwanda massacres. He ought to have been dismissed dishonorably even then. He did everything in his considerable power to ensure that nothing would be done to help the Tutsis. He's an extremely sleazy character whose PR machine has done a fantastic job. Although Havel has said some pretty weird things, he would be a huge improvement.

    Serenus Zeitblom

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