The Road to Turtle Bay: The Novelist

Shashi Tharoor, the current UN Under Secretary-General for Communications Public Information, has been mentioned as a candidate for UNSG. Right after finishing his Ph.D. at Tufts in 1979, he joined UNHCR. Eventually, he worked with Kofi Annan in Yugoslavia. After Annan was plucked by the Security Council to be UNSG, Shashi was brought along as his executive assistant. He has spent his entire working career, 28 years, working for the UN.

Now, Shashi isn't just a spokesman for the UN. He has also written scholarly works and a novel was turned into a Bollywood film. (see his artistic website) He is truly a Renaissance man.

Obviously, Shashi has excellent UN experience, and, as an Indian national, is an Asian (what's more Asian than Bollywood?). Last week he went on a tour to discuss the UN, flying through the capitals of several Security Council members and others (Paris, Moscow, and Brussels where he gave a shout out to another candidate). Now, Shashi says he's not a candidate, and the Indian government agrees. But the unannounced candidates are, well, unannounced, and he's certainly getting to know people.

Now, Shashi may have some problems. We believe that the Security Council will likely recommend a UN outsider. 

He is also from a large country, and one that has an ongoing border dispute with a P5 member. Furthermore, India stands outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Hardly a position to authority to speak from on "peace and security". Now, Shashi is fully socailized to the UN and surely thinks that India should not have the bomb, but it could be an issue nonetheless. Especially when Security Council reform is on the table, and India would stand to gain.

So, in conclusion, we think that Shashi is an interesting possibility. He would probably emerge, like his mentor, only as a compromise candidate. The only question is what blockade in the process will require his negatives to be overlooked?

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One Response to “The Road to Turtle Bay: The Novelist”

  1. Chapter15 » Blog Archive » El-Baradei on nuclear safeguards Says:

    […] Chapter15 Looking at the race for the next UN Secretary General « The Road to Turtle Bay: The Novelist […]

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