The Rosett Report

Leadership UN-Style: Here Comes Yemen

This isn’t news they’ve been covering in Topeka…or Washington…or New York…though given President Obama’s preference for treating the UN as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, it seems like someone ought to notice.

So here it is: Over at the UN, 2010 brings another of those hallmark handoffs.  This one involves the biggest voting bloc of member states in the UN General Assembly, the Group of 77 — which was founded in 1964 as a group of 77 developing countries, but has since grown to include 129 member states plus the Palestinian Authority. That amounts to more than 2/3 the total votes of the UN’s 192 member General Assembly — the outfit which has recently brought us everything from the Durban Review conference (starring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) to the UN “Human Rights” Council, to the 2009 annual opening starring Muammar Qaddafi, Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad; to demands for billions/trillions/whatever in “climate change” compensation. The common denominator of the G-77 is supposed to be that these are “developing” countries. In their various ways, they all are — but some are developing their economies,  while others have proved more adept at developing mayhem, carnage, grotesque repression and major terrorist groups.

For 2009, chairmanship of the G-77 was held by — what else? — Sudan. So how does the G-77 propose to follow an act like that? You guessed it from the headline. The new G-77 chairman for the calendar year 2010 is …drumroll please … Yemen.

Yes, Yemen, where the underwear bomber got his bomb training; where bombers of the U.S.S. Cole just somehow couldn’t be kept in prison; where al Qaeda is on a roll; where the ruler since 1978, President Ali Abdullah Saleh wants lots more aid from the U.S. but favors “dialogue” with the in-country al Qaeda contingent.

It’s not as if the G-77 includes no better candidates. Were normal development the actual aim, the group does have members who might have something useful to contribute, such as India, Chile or Botswana. But no. To a roster of chairmanships held over the past decade by, among others, Iran, Venezuela, Pakistan and Sudan, we can now add Yemen. Chosen, no less, by “acclamation” (scroll down in this G-77 “Ministerial Declaration” to the final item, #81). That items follows, in the same document, item #80, in which the assembled ministers “expressed their deep appreciation to the Republic of Sudan for its able leadership … excellent work…tireless efforts… for 2009.”

Yemen as chair of the G-77 does make a good match, in its way, with the current president of the UN General Assembly itself, Ali Treki of Qaddafi’s Libya. As spectacle, the UN has the makings of another lively year. As a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, well, you can draw your own conclusions…