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Let Kofi spin!

By Henry Lamb
web posted January 10, 2005

Calls for Kofi Annan to resign his post as Secretary-General of the United Nations continue to grow. The Oil-for-Food scandal expands with each new disclosure, and the once-secret sex scandals are now public knowledge. Kofi Annan's resignation, however, will not cure these ills; it will only mask the real problems, while providing the appearance of reform.

Were Kofi to step down, U.N. critics would celebrate their victory, and the institution would go about selecting a new person to correct all the problems that have come to light. The spotlight would be focused on the new Secretary-General, who would get a pass for two or three years, while he assembles his own staff and puts his executive stamp on the operation. During this honeymoon period, public outrage would be put on hold.

Kofi Annan

With Kofi in office, he has a big target on his back. He is the responsible person. He is the symbol of U.N. corruption and incompetence. Every time he steps in front of a TV camera, the audience must think about the horrible scandals that are now being investigated. A new Secretary-General would not evoke the same reaction.

Kofi Annan is not the problem at the U.N. He is nothing more than the public face on the consequences of structural flaws in the institution, which spawn the corruption, incompetence and ineffectiveness that is now being revealed in the current scandals.

Every time Kofi excuses his top officials for sexual misconduct, or announces that the oil-for-food program was a success, or allows his officials to call the U.S. "stingy," or says he didn't know his son was being paid by the primary contractor who was supposed to be monitoring the oil-for-food program - he is fanning the fire among Americans who want the U.S. to withdraw from the U.N.

Kofi Annan has done more in recent months to wake up Americans than the John Birch Society did in twenty years.

Kofi should remain in office while the various investigations of the oil-for-food scandal unfold. He should be in front of the camera as the various U.N. sex offenders are exposed and brought to justice. If he is driven from office, he will slink into the shadows and avoid the public scrutiny of the corruption his eight-year-reign has allowed to occur.

A new Secretary–General cannot correct the inherent problems at the U.N. He can only deflect the spotlight of public attention and, perhaps, shake up the staff for a while, until a new bureaucracy can rebuild their own little kingdoms into the next round of misdeeds.

Among the fundamental structural problems at the U.N. is the absence of accountability. The U.N. is accountable to no one. There is no higher authority.

In the United States, the government is accountable to the people who elect the people who hire the bureaucracy; no one elects anyone at the U.N.

The U.N. bureaucracy is supposed to act in response to the General Assembly, most of whose delegates are in New York, essentially at the expense of the U.N. They are not about to risk losing their gravy-train by opposing the Secretariat. The majority of the Security Council is appointed for short terms. We now know that four of the permanent member-nations of the Security Council were recipients of profits from the oil-for-food scandal. These people are accountable to no one.

The U.N. is beyond reform. Kofi should finish his term in office and then be turned out to the pasture of shame, carrying the legacy that his reign at the U.N. was its last.

The United States has propped up this useless institution for sixty years. It's time for the U.S. to pull the plug, and find a new way to interface with the international community, on American terms.

Time and time again, the U.S. has yielded the principles of freedom in order to accommodate the wishes of the collectivist majority at the U.N. Foolishness. No more. America is a great nation because it is built upon the principles of freedom. Those same principles will work for any nation willing to employ them. America should be about advancing those principles in the world, and not about appeasing the critics of those principles.

Kofi Annan built, and feathered his nest at the U.N. Had the U.S. not ignored his, and the Security Council's admonitions, and not invaded Iraq, the world would still be unaware of the egregious oil-for-food fiasco - which knocked Kofi from his nest. He is now hanging by a twig, spinning, spinning in the wind of public scrutiny. Let's let him spin until the majority of Americans realize that it is the entire U.N. system that must go, not just Kofi.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.


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