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Kofi Annan’s successor will need the vision, experience, and flexibility to resist outdated models of diplomacy centered in New York or Geneva.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…