Monday, January 03, 2005

Scurrying at the Global Cockroach Farm

Also skulking about in secret—and with much better reason—are a group Americans trying to save the UN. I recently described the UN as a "giant global cockroach farm" (TIA Daily, 12/28/04); well, this must be what happens when you begin to turn on the lights. But all of this scurrying is futile because these advisors think the problem is Kofi Annan's public image—not the evil policies of an organization dominated by dictatorships. And their panic—including their fear that the UN cannot survive if it isn't propped up by the US—is a sign that support for the UN may be permanently fading.

"Secret Meeting, Clear Mission: 'Rescue' UN," Warren Hoge, New York Times, 1/3/05

"The meeting of veteran foreign policy experts in a Manhattan apartment one recent Sunday was held in strict secrecy. The guest of honor arrived without his usual retinue of aides. The mission, in the words of one participant, was clear: 'to save Kofi and rescue the UN.'... [One participant] described the group as people 'who care deeply about the UN and believe that the UN cannot succeed if it is in open dispute and constant friction with its founding nation, its host nation, and its largest contributor nation. The UN, without the US behind it, is a failed institution,' he said.... The speakers also faulted the United Nations for the state of its public communications. 'Throughout the building there is fairly low morale, which stems from the lackluster way in which the institution and the secretary general's office have responded to the oil-for-food charges,' Mr. Ruggie said. He continued, 'The attackers of the UN for too long have had a free ride in exaggerating the magnitude of the problem, sometimes deliberately distorting the facts, escalating their accusations and demands for his resignation, and frankly the response on the part of the UN has been inept.' "

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