Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

A message to the new UN Secretary General to be

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is now assured the job of UN Secretary-General to replace Kofi Annan January 1, 2007. Although a sense of his priorities is hard to come by seeming to be all things to all people being the apparent ticket to success - the New York Times reports on October 3rd that "Mr. Ban has said he will devote particular attention to efforts to broker a settlement in the Middle East."

If true, Ban is headed to play the same role as apologist for terrorism, while avoiding the genocides of our time, which was Kofi Annan's trademark.

The UN is not equipped to broker a settlement in the Middle East because long ago it took sides. The calculation was simple: Israel votes at the UN "1" (or occasionally "4" if you add in the United States, Australia, and Micronesia) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference "56" (or "132 plus" when you add the knee-jerk anti-American and anti-democratic reaction of most developing nations).

Pandering to the majority at the UN has also meant unquestioned allegiance to the party line one which provides no hope for producing a settlement but instead prolongs it. In UN circles, Israel's "occupation" is the root cause of both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the major threats to world peace today. At the UN hate, and the terrorism it spawns, have justifications. According to the current Secretary-General and the men and women around him, the underlying pathos of the Middle East conflict is not rejection of Jewish self-determination, anti-semitism, and violent ideological and territorial ambition. On the contrary, Israel is the "great poison of the Middle East," in the words of Annan's close associate and former high-ranking UN official Lakhdar Brahimi.

Is Ban set to adopt the UN majority's strategy for diverting attention from the lack of democracy in their own backyards and removing the Sudans of the world from center stage? Will Ban leave Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown who specializes in periodic bouts of America-bashing (courtesy of the American taxpayer) in place? We'll know soon enough for the UN majority can be counted upon to push hard immediately. And a Bush administration incapable of confirming its UN Ambassador while controlling both Houses of Congress, and still driving its Iran policy from the back seat of the Security Council, does not seem poised to push back.