Roger L. Simon

Thumbs Up or Down on Kofi

The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby argues that Kofi Annan remaining in office as Secretary General of the United Nations is the better way to reform that moribund organization:

Oil-for-food may be the greatest international rip-off of modern times, it may have strengthened one of the world’s bloodiest dictators, but if history is any guide, the scandal headlines will fade from view long before the secretary general does. By week’s end, in fact, dozens of governments, including all the permanent members of the Security Council save the United States, had publicly rallied to Annan’s support. Scandal or no scandal, he will almost certainly serve out the remaining two years of his term.

Which is just as well. Annan is merely a symptom of the UN’s sickness, not the cause of it. His resignation would do nothing to reform the UN into the engine of peace and liberty its founders envisioned. Better that Annan remain in place as a symbol of UN fecklessness and failure, and a spur to those who can envision something better.

Jacoby promises to discuss how that might happen in a future column, but I will repeat what I have recommended on here. The bottom line for any UN reform is the bottom line. A United Nations without complete financial transparency (on line for all the citizens of the world) will never have a hope of fulfilling its function, no matter what promises are made in its charter or elsewhere. Otherwise it will remain what it is, a money laundry for crackpot dictators and their “coalition of the willing.”