U.N. chief portrayed as `good moon rising`

  • Published : Mar 30, 2010 - 13:30
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2010 - 13:30

A renowned online publisher of analyses on U.S. foreign policy ran a commentary on the diplomatic achievements of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose effectiveness was recently questioned by several Western media.
Journalist and author Ian Williams wrote in a Foreign Policy in Focus commentary titled "Good Moon Rising?" on Wednesday that Ban deserves more credit for last month`s U.N. General Assembly.
According to Williams, the United Nations really dealt with substantive issues of global importance this time - such as disarmament and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and climate change - rather than evading them.
"Ban Ki-moon has had less credit than he deserves for the prominence of the key issues at this General Assembly and the U.N.`s relative success in tackling them, all overshadowed by the arrival of most foreigners` favorite president, (Barack) Obama," he wrote.
"Yet Ban has worked indefatigably to ensure that they were on the agenda and were supported in a practical way with commitments from world leaders."
The FPIF senior analyst was also optimistic about Ban`s prospects of winning a second term.
"As a nominee of John Bolton, Bush`s U.N. representative, Ban might be expected to face an Obama administration veto of a second term," he said.
"But this is doubtful, however, since Ban`s and Obama`s agendas generally seem to be in close harmony. Above all, they subscribe to the Churchillian principle that jaw-jaw is better than war-war."
Noting that Ban, like most other secretary generals, "stands guilty of thinking that he represents the U.N. rather than the right wing of the U.S. foreign policy establishment," Williams said this was what led to the latest media attacks on Ban including the one by Rupert Murdoch`s Times.
The analyst also defied a Norwegian diplomat who described Ban as "charmless and spineless" in a retaliatory memo after she was denied the job she had wanted at the world body.
"In fact, he is remarkably affable and charming, and has shown strong attachment to principle - which may be one reason for the neoliberal disaffection," Williams wrote.
"Their calumny is precisely because Ban has not been just a cookie-cutter conservative puppet."
While acknowledging Ban`s efforts for independence from the United States as shown in his labeling the country a "deadbeat" over its dues arrears this March and the recent firing of Clinton protege Peter Galbraith from the Afghan mission, Williams called for more straight-talking from Ban.
""The world expects him to deliver more of the ethical dimension of a U.N. secretary general (than appointing more women to senior posts and persuading states and companies to donate flu vaccines for developing countries), even as he dips his arms in the sordid sink of realpolitik," he wrote.
"With the Obama administration, Ban has the best chance of any of his recent predecessors of speaking truth to power and emerging unscathed."

By Kim So-hyun