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Kofi Annan Bashes US In “Farewell Speech”

Via the DNC’s USA Today:

Outgoing Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, gives a speech at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, December 11, 2006. Annan, in his last major speech as U.N. secretary general, urged the United States on Monday to shun go-it-alone diplomacy and collaborate on its world challenges, including the Iraq war.

Speech Of The U.N. Secretary-General


Thank you, Congressman [Gephardt] and Senator [Hagel] for those wonderful introductions. It is really a great honor to be introduced by two such distinguished legislators. And thanks to you, Mr. Devine, and all your staff, and to the wonderful UNA chapter of Kansas City, for all you have done to make this occasion possible.

What a pleasure, and a privilege, to be here in Missouri. It’s almost a homecoming for me. Nearly half a century ago I was a student about 400 miles north of here, in Minnesota. I arrived there straight from Africa — and I can tell you, Minnesota soon taught me the value of a thick overcoat, a warm scarf … and even ear-muffs!

It also taught me how people in the American heartland live by their values, their principles, their beliefs. And that’s why I’ve come here today to give my last speech to an American audience as Secretary-general of the United Nations. I want to talk to you — and to the world at large, since we have CNN here with us — about my own values, and especially about five guiding principles for international relations in the 21st century, which I derive from ten years’ experience in this very demanding but incredibly exciting job.

I think it’s especially fitting that I do that here in the house that honors the legacy of Harry S Truman. If FDR was the architect of the United Nations, President Truman was the master-builder, and the faithful champion of the Organization in its first years, when it had to face quite different problems from the ones FDR had expected. Truman’s name will for ever be associated with the memory of far-sighted American leadership in a great global endeavor. And you will see that every one of my five lessons brings me to the conclusion that such leadership is no less sorely needed now than it was sixty years ago.

My first lesson is that, in today’s world, the security of every one of us is linked to that of everyone else.

• That was already true in Truman’s time. The man who in 1945 gave the order for nuclear weapons to be used — for the first, and please God the only, time in history — understood that security for some could never again be achieved at the price of insecurity for others. In 1946 he offered to place all nuclear energy under international control — an offer rejected, tragically, by Joseph Stalin — and in 1950, faced with aggression by North Korea against the South, he insisted on bringing the issue to the United Nations and placing US troops under the UN flag, at the head of a multinational force.

• But how much more true it is in our open world today: a world where deadly weapons can be obtained not only by rogue states but by extremist groups; a world where SARS, or avian flu, can be carried across oceans, let alone national borders, in a matter of hours; a world where failed states in the heart of Asia or Africa can become havens for terrorists; a world where even the climate is changing in ways that will affect the lives of everyone on the planet.

Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others. Only by working for each other’s security can we hope to achieve lasting security for ourselves. That was the main conclusion of the panel of senior statesmen and women which I appointed three years ago to study the threats and challenges we face in the 21st century, and to suggest ways for us to protect ourselves better. "What is needed today," they found, "is nothing less than a new consensus between alliances that are frayed, between wealthy nations and poor, and among people mired in mistrust across an apparently widening cultural abyss. The essence of that consensus is simple: we all share responsibility for each other’s security."

• And I would add that this responsibility is not simply a matter of states being ready to come to each other’s aid when attacked — important though that is. It also includes our shared responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity — a responsibility solemnly accepted by all nations at last year’s UN summit. That means that respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as a shield by governments intent on massacring their own people, or as an excuse for the rest of us to do nothing when such heinous crimes are committed.

• But, as the high-level panel also said, "the test of that consensus will be action". And when I look at the murder, rape and starvation to which the people of Darfur are being subjected, I fear that we may already be failing that test. The lesson here, surely, is that high-sounding doctrines like the "responsibility to protect" will remain pure rhetoric unless and until those with the power to intervene effectively — by exerting political, economic or, in the last resort, military muscle — are prepared to take the lead.

• And I believe we have a responsibility not only to our contemporaries but also to future generations — a responsibility to preserve resources that belong to them as well as to us, and without which none of us can survive. And that means we must do much more, and urgently, to prevent or slow down climate change. Every day that we do nothing, or too little, imposes higher costs on our children, and our children’s children.

My second lesson is that we are not only all responsible for each other’s security. We are also, in some measure, responsible for each other’s welfare. Global solidarity is both necessary and possible.

• It is necessary because, without a measure of solidarity — without some sense of shared values and shared destiny — no society can be truly stable, and no one’s prosperity truly secure. That applies to national societies — as all the great industrial democracies learned in the 20th century — but it also applies to the increasingly integrated global market economy we live in today. It is not realistic to think that some people can go on deriving great benefits from globalization while billions of their fellow human beings are left in abject poverty, or even thrown into it. We have to give at least a chance to share in our prosperity to our fellow citizens, not only within each nation but in the global community.

• That is why, five years ago, the UN Millennium Summit adopted a set of goals — the "Millennium Development Goals" — to be reached by 2015: goals such as halving the proportion of people in the world who don’t have clean water to drink; making sure all girls, as well as boys, receive at least primary education; slashing infant and maternal mortality; and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.

• Much of that can only be done by governments and people in the poor countries themselves. But richer countries, too, have a vital role. And our success in mobilizing them to support the Millennium Development Goals, through debt relief and increases in foreign aid, convinces me that global solidarity is not only necessary but possible.

Of course, foreign aid by itself is not enough. Today, we realize that market access, fair terms of trade, and a non-discriminatory financial system are equally important to the prospects of poor people in poor countries. Even in the next few weeks and months, you Americans can make a crucial difference to many millions of poor people, if you are prepared to save the Doha Round of trade negotiations. You can do that by putting your broader national interest above that of some powerful sectional lobbies, while challenging Europe and the large developing countries to do the same.

My third lesson is that, at the national and the international levels, both security and successful economic development ultimately depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

• Although increasingly interdependent, our world continues to be divided — not only into different nations and economic interest groups, but also into communities defined by belief or tradition. There is nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, throughout history human life has been enriched by variety, and different communities have learnt from each other. But if our different communities are to live together in peace we need to stress not only what divides but also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief in the need for human dignity and human rights to be protected by law.

• That is vital for development, too. Not only foreign investors but also a country’s own citizens are much more likely to engage in productive activity when their basic rights are protected and they can be confident of fair treatment under the law. And policies that genuinely favor economic development are much more likely to be adopted if the people most in need of development have a chance to make their voice heard, and to hold their governments to account.

• That is why human rights and the rule of law are such an important objective for all who truly care about global security and prosperity. Historically, Americans have understood this, and this country has been in the vanguard of the global human rights movement. But that lead can only be maintained if America is true to its own principles, including in the struggle against terrorism. Many people are troubled and confused when the United States appears to abandon the ideals and objectives, and the international instruments, with which it has long been identified. In President Truman’s words, "We must, once and for all, prove by our acts conclusively that Right Has Might."

And what is true within states is also true between them: a rules-based system works best.

Playing by the rules can sometimes be inconvenient, but ultimately what matters is not convenience. It is doing the right thing. No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; many do suffer from too little — and the international community is among them. This we must change.

• The U.S. has given the world a shining example of a democracy in which everyone, including the most powerful, is subject to legal restraint. Its current moment of world supremacy gives it a priceless opportunity to entrench the same principles at the global level.

No state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world at large will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose — for broadly shared aims — in accordance with broadly accepted norms.

• Harry Truman was very blunt about this. "We all have to recognize," he said, "no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please."

My fourth lesson — closely related to the last one — is that governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one.

• It is of course the basic principle of democracy that governments should be accountable to those they govern. But today the actions of one state can often have a decisive effect on the lives of people in other states. So does it not owe some account to those other states and their citizens, as well as to its own? I believe it does.

• As things stand, accountability between states is highly skewed. Poor and weak states can fairly easily be held to account, because they need foreign aid, and can get it only on conditions set by outsiders. But large and powerful states, which have the greatest impact on the fate of the world, can be constrained only by their own people, working through their domestic institutions.

• I think that gives the people and institutions of such powerful states a special responsibility to take account of global views and interests, as well as national ones, when making decisions. And I believe they should take account into account the views not only of other states but also of what, in UN jargon, we call "non-state actors". I mean commercial corporations, charities and pressure groups, labor unions, philanthropic foundations, universities and think tanks — all the myriad forms in which people come together voluntarily to think about, or try to change, the world.

• None of these should be allowed to substitute itself for the state, or for the democratic process by which citizens choose their governments and decide policy. But they all have the capacity to influence political processes, on the international as well as the national level. Frankly, states are hiding their heads in the sand if they ignore this.

• The fact is that states are no longer alone — if they ever were — in confronting global challenges. Increasingly, these other actors have both global interests and global capacity. I believe it is vital to enlist their energies, both in working out global strategies and in putting those strategies into action once agreed. It has been one of my guiding principles as Secretary-General to get them to help achieve UN aims — for instance in the Global Compact with international business, which I initiated in 1999. More than 3,000 companies, major not-for-profit groups and labor unions throughout the world have responded to this initiative, and through it are now involved in promoting UN principles on human rights, core labor standards and environmental practices.

So that is four lessons. Let me briefly remind you of them:

First, we are all responsible for each other’s security.

Second, we can and must give everyone the chance to benefit from global prosperity.

Third, both security and prosperity depend on human rights and the rule of law.

Fourth, states must be accountable to each other, and to a broad range of non-state actors, in their international conduct.

My fifth and final lesson derives inescapably from those other four. We can only do all these things by working together through a multilateral system, and by making the best possible use of the unique instrument bequeathed to us by Harry Truman and his contemporaries, namely the United Nations.

•In fact, it is only through multilateral institutions that states can hold to each other to account. And that makes it very important to organize such institutions in a fair and democratic way, giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong.

•That applies particularly to the international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Developing countries should have a stronger voice in these bodies, whose decisions can have almost a life-or-death impact on their fate. And it also applies to the UN Security Council, whose membership still reflects the reality of 1945, not of today’s world.

•That’s why I have continued to press for Security Council reform. But reform involves two separate issues. One is that new members should be added, on a permanent or long-term basis, to give greater representation to parts of the world that have limited voice today. The other, perhaps even more important, is that all Council members, and especially all the major powers who are permanent members, must accept the special responsibility that comes with their privilege. The Security Council is not just another stage on which to act out national interests. It is the management committee, if you will, of our fledgling collective security system. As President Truman said, "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world."

Those, my friends, are the five principles I want to leave with you, in solemn trust, as I prepare to hand over to a new Secretary-General in three weeks’ time: collective responsibility, global solidarity, the rule of law, mutual accountability, and multilateralism.

We have achieved much since 1945, when the United Nations was established. But much remains to be done to put those five principles into practice.

Standing here, I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s last visit to the White House, just before Truman left office in 1953. Churchill recalled their only previous meeting, at the Potsdam conference in 1945. "I must confess, sir," he said boldly, "I held you in very low regard then. I loathed your taking the place of Franklin Roosevelt." Then he paused for a moment, and continued: "I misjudged you badly. Since that time, you more than any other man, have saved Western civilization."

My friends, our challenge today is even greater: all civilization is at stake. We must make haste to save it.

You Americans did so much, in the last century, to build an effective multilateral system, with the United Nations at its heart. Do you need it less today, and does it need you less, than 60 years ago?

Surely not. More than ever today Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world’s peoples can face global challenges together. And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition.

I hope and pray that the American leaders of today, and tomorrow, will provide it.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Annan oversaw the United Nations during some of the worst genocides in history, about which he did nothing. Worse still, Annan dreamt up and then ran the biggest money-making grift in the history of the world — the “Oil For Food” racket.

The Oil For Food kickback scheme netted Annan, his relatives and his cronies billions of dollars. Money that also helped keep the tyrant Saddam Hussein in power while he murdered his own people. Money that could have gone to those suffering poor people he pretends to champion, while he lives like a billionaire.

Plainspoken Harry Truman would have called Mr. Annan what he is: a thief who made a mockery of the original lofty intentions of the United Nations. This latest speech proves that Mr. Annan is one of the biggest hypocrites to ever disgrace this planet.

In a better world Mr. Annan would be forced to pay back the money he stole from the people of Iraq. And he would spend the rest of his existence in jail meditating upon his crimes against humanity.

But instead our one party America-hating media will celebrate him as a hero for the rest of his gold-plated life.

Channeling Harry Truman, I say: "Go to hell, Mr. Annan. And take your Communist claptrap and delusions of power with you."

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 11th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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