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The long international nightmare of the Kofi Anna era ended yesterday when his successor, Ban Ki Moon, took his oath of office. He started his Secretariat with a joke about the daunting nature of his mission to restore faith and trust in the United Nations, and he continued by distancing himself from his predecessor's outbound remarks:
Ban Ki-moon of South Korea was sworn in Thursday as the next secretary general of the United Nations, and he pledged to rebuild faith in an organization that has been tarnished by scandal and riven by disputes between rich and poor nations.
“You could say that I am a man on a mission, and my mission could be dubbed ‘Operation Restore Trust’: trust in the organization, and trust between member states and the Secretariat,” he said.
He added, “I hope this mission is not ‘Mission: Impossible.’ ”
After praising Annan for his work at Turtle Bay, Moon noted that Annan's remarks about American foreign policy reflected Annan's own personal opinion and should not be considered part of the UN's approach to the US. In fact, he acknowledged that the UN and the US had worked at cross purposes and that he needed to rebuild trust with the American people.
It's not a bad start for the new leader of the UN. He seems to have more of a sense of humor than Annan; Fox News had a clip of him from a reception earlier this month spoofing himself by singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" but replacing Santa's name with his own. A man who does not take himself with deadly seriousness is one with more potential to handle criticism and accountability.
He made one slip yesterday that might play well in the Anglosphere. When asked a question in French by a Canadian journalist, Moon had to request that the reporter translate the question into English as he had difficulty in understanding the language. The question, as it turns out, was about Moon's understanding of the importance of keeping French as the second official language of the UN -- a reference to the French insistence that any UN Secretary-General be fluent in their language.
On a more serious note, he spoke out against the recent bout of Holocaust denial in Iran. Calling such efforts "not acceptable," he also criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call to have Israel wiped off the map. Annan had done much the same in the waning days of his last term of office, and the continuity will make it easier to keep Iran on the hot seat. (Annan had actually criticized the Holocaust denial while in Teheran earlier this year.)
Ban Ki Moon still remains a relative mystery to most Americans. Who is this new leader, and will he make the UN relevant again -- a force for freedom and liberty, rather than a tool of dictators and kleptocrats? In order to find the answers, we will have the intrepid Claudia Rosett on the Northern Alliance Radio Network tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm CT/3 pm ET. Be sure to tune in at AM 1280 The Patriot or listen to the station's Internet stream as we ask the media's best expert on the UN and its surrounding scandals how Moon can change the culture at Turtle Bay and who he has been until now. You can pose your own questions by calling 651-289-4488 during the show tomorrow.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» The New Leader At The UN from Stop The ACLU
As Kofi Annan bashes America in his farewell speeches, who is replacing him? His name is Ban Ki Moon, he is from South Korea and I know absolutely nothing about him. It shouldn’t be too difficult to be a better leader than corrupt Kofi, and I&... [Read More]
Tracked on December 15, 2006 8:18 AM
» Secretary General of the United Nations from Wake up America>
Perhaps under Ban Ki-moon's leadership the United Nations can become an organization that can be trusted and helpful, instead of what it has become under Kofi's rule, which has been a facilitator to dictatorships and corruption, sex scandals and in w... [Read More]
Tracked on December 15, 2006 1:42 PM
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