Archive for July, 2006

Battle of Ideas

July 8, 2006

One of Sathirathai’s advisors at Harvard wrote a piece in today’s Boston Globe. Sathirathai is engaging is the battle of ideas. Some interesting notes:

TODAY’S MOST significant global challenges, whether humanitarian or military, are being addressed by diverse ad hoc coalitions

As different coalitions address Iran’s nuclear program, ongoing violence in Afghanistan or Darfur, negotiations with North Korea, and the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, multilateralism has been reawakened and redefined.

This echos the “UN is more relevant than ever” that Shashi has been saying. However, he recasts it:

Kofi Annan’s successor will need the vision, experience, and flexibility to resist outdated models of diplomacy centered in New York or Geneva. It will take a courageous leader to recast the UN’s role as one that supports, rather than competes, with this new brand of multilateralism.

This is a clear attack at his other two announced opponents, who are both graduates of the UN system. It also appears to be an attempt to reach out to the US, whose “Coalitions of the Willing” have been much maligned. (it was a Clinton term, we might add)

A strong secretary general with this vision could ease the emergence of patchwork coalitions, helping NATO, the European Union, the African Union, various states, and nongovernmental actors find coordinated roles in a crisis like Darfur. Under such leadership, the UN could become a clearinghouse for influential ideas, instructive experiences, and diverse or even conflicting best practices.

These are new ideas. We assume that Sathirathai will tout his experience in a a multilateral institution — ASEAN! — as proof that he can do this. His experience is grounded in this fragmented world order. It is also clear how this is consistent with China’s positions, especially in an increasingly strengthened SCO.

We have long argued that Sathirathai has no chance (here, here, and here). And we still believe that insiders are not viable. That leaves other candidates. With Ban Ki-moon not in nomination, it is already clear that other candidates must emerge. Dervis, Deva, Goh? Lodhi doesn’t want it. Ramos-Horta just accepted a new job…

Very interesting.


More Process information

July 7, 2006

Security Council Report has a very helpful analysis of the memo circulated by the Security Council on the appointment straw poll process. We believe that the most important points are:

First, the Council seems to have decided to proceed cautiously. Rather than setting out a fully defined set of guidelines, it seems to be leaving open the possibility of successive refinements of the process, as events unfold.

Secondly, the Council has established a clear requirement for nomination of candidates. Candidates will only be considered for inclusion in the “straw ballot” if the name of the candidate has been presented to the President of the Security Council by a Member State. (It is understood that at time of writing three of the four announced candidates have been so nominated)

Fourthly, at this stage the straw ballots will not differentiate between permanent members and elected members. Accordingly, the impact of the veto will remain veiled.

Fifthly, there is nothing in the note from the President of the Security Council which suggests that the field will be limited to the candidates whose names are in the first straw poll.  It seems that it will be possible for additional candidates to be nominated.  This is another matter which seems to be deliberately left open.

Several thoughts occur to us in response to this analysis. They are proceeding cautiously. This is not surprising because there is no guarantee that the current list of formally announced candidates contains someone who will garner the support of the UNSC.

We find it interesting that vetos will be hidden this time. Surely this is an attempt to emphasize equity in the process, at least initially? And surely the P5 are talking? The interesting question is what they do when they get 8 or 10 votes, which would be enough if there is no veto. When do they convert to a process that uses vetos?

Lastly, there are two things in the report that pick out particular candidates. First, Shashi, Dhanapala, and Sathirathai have all been officially nominated. Ban Ki-moon has not. Is he not running any more? If not, what happens to Egyptian support? Egypt is important in both the Arabic world and in Africa.

Second, this makes Deva’s nominations, so far, invalid. What will he do about that?

Two former PMs nominate Deva

July 7, 2006

Sri Lankan press reports that Niranjan Deva-Aditya has been nominated by two former PMs:

Ambassador Niranjan Deva-Aditya has been nominated by the former Prime Ministers of France and Poland as a candidate for UN Secretary-General.Michel Rocard and Jerzy Buzek have both written to the President of the UN Security Council requesting that Deva?s name be added to the list of candidates.

Formally, only member states are eligible to nominate candidates. Surely Deva knows this and is up to something innovative. Indeed, the creativity of his candidacy appears as a theme in the letters submitted by the two former PMs:

His life and achievements truly span East and West; North and South. The challenges faced by a globalised world require the next Secretary-General to be a 21st century personality, one who is a global citizen and well versed in multi-lateral relations, and who is above any particular national interest.

In this regard Mr. Deva-Aditya is unique, he is above all else a consensus builder as his life achievements show. As an Asian impacting upon the multi-lateral political environment worldwide, he is ideally placed to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As we have indicated, this only makes sense if some country puts forth his name. Either a member state can submit a name formally, or a Security Council member can submit his name informally. Who will it be?

Sathirathai Offers Dhanapala job to get out?

July 5, 2006

The (very conservative) Washington Times reports that Dhanapala has been offered a job to drop out by Sathirathai (if he were to win):

In recent months, Thai officials have said Mr. Surakiart had directed a foreign ministry official to approach Sri Lanka about withdrawing its candidate, Jayantha Dhanapala, from the race, and said Mr. Surakiart had offered Mr. Dhanapala any other job within the organization if he would step aside

Mr. Surakiart, who says he has the support of more than 100 nations, has vigorously denied the claims.

One is left to wonder who exactly is giving this to the Times. Both Dhanapala and Ban Ki-moon have tried to cozy up to US conservatives (Bolton?) by working with the Times. Surely it does not help Dhanapala to have rumors flying around about him dropping out.

Bangladesh pushes for a single SAARC candidate

July 1, 2006

Yesterday, Morshed Khan, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, argued for a single SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation – essentially the geographic Indian subcontinent) candidate for UN Secretary General. This is an interesting development, given that both India and Sri Lanka, SAARC members, have nominees, and it is our understanding that Mr. Khan favours one of the unannounced candidates. Khan echoes similar concerns from Asian countries such as China, who worry about the lack of Asian unity in deciding upon a candidate.