Friday, June 24, 2005

Why No American Should Be UN Secretary General

There's been talk, probably among people with too much time on their hands, about the fearful prospect of Bill Clinton as Secretary General of the UN. This would be bad for several reasons, most of which still apply to any other prominent American.

Why no American should be UN Secretary General:
  • Traditionally, representatives of the permanent UN Security Council members cannot become Secretary General. This preserves some appearance of neutrality while managing the bureaucracy.

  • Either the President or Secretary General would be weakened by the other.

  • At least in Clinton's case, it would create an apparent power struggle between himself and the current US President. For those hoping for world government through the UN, one president would appear to outrank the other.

  • It would be easier for non-Americans to view the UN as a US pawn. The Secretary General would be forced to oppose US interests to appear independent or else he would be considered a US puppet, lessening his freedom of action. Neither of these are desirable outcomes.
American interests would be well served by having a friendly Secretary General, but an American in that role would simply be too controversial. (At the moment, my vote goes to the Czech Republic's former President, Václav Havel.)

1 comment:

Lady Jane said...

Excellent points. Who would be a good new UN Secretary General? Hopefully Kofi Annan will be gone soon.