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May 28, 2006
LA Times: Hillary Should Eschew Presidency For Bill To Lead UN

In one of the most bizarre editorials seen recently from a major newspaper, the Los Angeles Times' editorial board requests that Hillary Clinton declare an end to her presidential aspirations -- so that Bill Clinton can take over the United Nations when Kofi Annan leaves. Telling readers that the world needs Bill more than the US needs Hillary, the editors urge the UN to consider Bill the man to lead a rapprochement with Washington and the West:

The U.N.'s reputation has been tattered by peacekeeper sex scandals, the Iraq oil-for-food fiasco and other leadership failures. Nearly everybody agrees that reforms are desperately needed, but no one has emerged who can unite the competing factions and bring about real change. The United States — the most potent force for spreading freedom and democracy around the world — is thoroughly disillusioned with the United Nations. Americans are largely disengaged with the organization's actions. Bill Clinton at the helm would change that overnight.

Clinton also could bridge the growing divide between Washington and much of the world. He has been all but beatified in Africa, where his foundation has negotiated big discounts on drugs for treating AIDS. European heads of state eat out of his hand, and even the most hostile elements in the Arab world respect him as a peacemaker. He is so well known in China that a condom has been named after him, and his support in the U.S. cuts a swath across the ideological and socioeconomic spectrum, from billionaires to evangelicals to inner-city minorities. If Clinton can attract hordes of reporters at every public appearance even when he's out of office, think of the clout he would wield as head of the United Nations — clout that could focus Americans on the plight of the Third World or persuade implacable enemies to at least take a seat at the negotiating table.

[China has named a condom after Bill Clinton. Priceless. Somehow, that evokes memories of domestic affairs more than foreign policy.]

The Times makes the argument that the world would be a "much grimmer place" if the UN did not exist. It laughably states that its blue-helmeted soldiers keep tyrants from abusing innocent civilians, even though incidents like Srebrenica continue to show how feckless and unprepared UN troops are in dealing with actual conflict. They give the false impression that they will protect innocent civilians, when all they do when the shooting starts is retreat to their barracks. It's at their barracks and the refugee centers they supposedly protect that UN peacekeepers have a long record of forcing young girls into prostitution for basic subsistence food and water.

Perhaps the Times does not see that as particularly grim, but the thousands who died in Srebrenica and the legions of abused female refugees would likely disagree.

The UN has become an obstacle to change, not an agent for it. Could Bill Clinton change that? Hardly. Clinton governed as a status-quo president, avoiding reform until it was pressed on him by a newly-motivated Republican Congress. His instincts on reform run statist, as his aborted health-care initiative showed. He showed no real drive to confront tyranny and oppression in office except to pull Europe's chestnuts out of their Balkan fire, and thanks to Clinton's efforts, the area has progressed little since the intervention. After six years, Kosovo is still in limbo. Bill Clinton would have little power to change any of that, and has shown little inclination to do so anyway.

As president, Hillary would hold much more power to effect positive change in the world. The UN relies on America as much as it acts to contain us, and any president can use that as leverage to make the necessary changes to promote democracy and expand liberty. George Bush has done so, attempting to engage the UN on every single issue and documenting its failures to respond. When the UN has shown itself as impotent, as it has frequently done so, Bush has built multilateral coalitions to take action to circumvent Turtle Bay.

The UN is not a world government, but it appears from the LAT that they would like it to be so. They want to see Bill Clinton at the head of this corrupt and discredited organization rather than have Hillary lead a nation with real power to do good. It almost sounds like ... a Karl Rove dream come true.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 28, 2006 9:02 AM

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» Bill Clinton to head the UN? from Free Constitution
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