« | »

UN’s Outreach To Dictators Irks Some

From a strangely un-diplomatic Washington Post:

U.N. Chief’s ‘Quiet’ Outreach To Autocrats Causing Discord

Ban Accused of Weakening Body’s Moral Authority

By Colum Lynch
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has a message for despots and dictators: We can talk.

The world’s top diplomat has had more face time with autocratic leaders than any of his recent predecessors, jetting off for tete-a-tetes with Burma’s senior general, Than Shwe, and pulling aside Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at summits for discreet chats.

Ban has said he is confident that his trademark "quiet diplomacy" can help nudge the most recalcitrant leaders to mend their ways. He says he has pried open the door for aid workers in cyclone-ravaged Burma, gotten thousands of international peacekeepers into Darfur and helped raise the international profile of climate change…

As the Obama administration explores the merits of engagement with its adversaries, including Iran, North Korea and Syria, Ban’s diplomatic strategy offers insights into some of the political risks of haggling with the world’s most difficult political leaders. Halfway through his first term, Ban is facing a leadership crisis as U.N. civil servants and diplomats here increasingly portray him as an ineffective administrator whose reluctance to hold outlaw leaders to account for bad behavior has undercut the United Nations’ moral authority…

In Sri Lanka, where the government was pushing to crush the ruthless Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the secretary general reached out to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to persuade him to show restraint to protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to serve as the Tigers’ human shields.

In an effort to maintain a cordial working relationship with Rajapaksa, Ban and his top advisers withheld criticism of the government, advising U.N. human rights officials not to publish U.N. estimates of the civilian death toll in the conflict, arguing that they were not convinced of their credibility, according to officials familiar with the discussions. In the end, Ban’s diplomatic intervention achieved a brief weekend pause in the fighting but did little to stem to slaughter, which cost the lives of 7,800 to 20,000 civilians.

Ban says he won commitments from Sri Lankan leaders to improve conditions for displaced people and to pursue reconciliation, but his handling of such crises has raised questions among some U.N. diplomats about his viability for a second term.

Norway’s U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, wrote that Ban is a "spineless and charmless" leader who has failed to convey the U.N.’s "moral voice and authority," according to a confidential memo to Norway’s foreign minister. Juul, whose husband, Terje Roed-Larsen, serves as one of Ban’s Middle East envoys, sharply criticized Ban’s handling of the crises in Sri Lanka and Burma in the memo, which was first published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

"The Secretary-General was a powerless observer to thousands of civilians losing their lives and becoming displaced from their homes," Juul wrote of Ban’s role in Sri Lanka. "The moral voice and authority of the Secretary-General has been missing."

Ban has been stung by the criticism and said he is striving to improve his performance. But he suggested that the criticism stemmed from a misunderstanding in the West of his Asian diplomatic approach. "We need to be able to respect the culture, tradition and leadership style of each and every leader," Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, told reporters in a visit to Oslo on Monday. "I have my own charisma, I have my own leadership style." …

Now this is strange.

Isn’t Mr. Ban does precisely what Mr. Obama has pledged to do, and in fact is doing apace?

Wasn’t and isn’t the Washington Post in Mr. Obama’s corner?

We are confused.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “UN’s Outreach To Dictators Irks Some”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Did the WP look down and notice a fuzzy set?

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    Yeah but can they chew gum at the same time.

  3. proreason says:

    “Isn’t Mr. Ban does precisely what Mr. Obama has pledged to do, and in fact is doing apace?
    Wasn’t and isn’t the Washington Post in Mr. Obama’s corner?”

    silly silly.

    How could Mr. Ban possibly match the brilliance of Obamy.

    By doing the same thing with a millionth of the luster, he dimishes the aura of the messiah.

    He must be stopped.

  4. Right of the People says:

    Tell me again why we are in the UN and why we let them have their HQ here in our country? Don’t you think the UN building would make great condos or at least a pretty good homeless shelter? Just think of the money we could save if we stop financing all these third world countries who hate us.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      Right after we clean and bleach that DC cesspool, we really do need to put this UN gang under an eviction notice and clean and bleach that waste of dollars, too.

      Lots of work to do.

  5. proreason says:

    “Tell me again why we are in the UN ”

    for the same reason the country elected the Moron, and is standing idly by why he and his croonies loot it.

  6. Reality Bytes says:

    Gee for a minute, I thought I was looking at a Hispanic Cab Calloway look alike. I was wrong, the Sudenese President is an Arab Cab Calloway knock off.

    This has got “Minnie the Moocher” written all over it.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »