Sadly, it seems to be business as usual where the UN and $$ are concerned.
Writes Mark Steyn: At tough times in my life, with the landlord tossing my clothes and record collection out on to the street, I could have used an aunt like Benon Sevan’s. Asked to account for the appearance in his bank account of a certain $160,000, Mr Sevan, executive director of the UN Oil-for-Food programme, said it was a gift from his aunt. Lucky Sevan, eh? None of my aunts ever had that much of the folding stuff on tap.
And nor, it seems, did Mr Sevan’s. She lived in a modest two-room flat back in Cyprus and her own bank accounts gave no indication of spare six-figure sums. Nonetheless, if a respected UN diplomat says he got 160,000 bucks from Auntie, we’ll just have to take his word for it. Paul Volcker’s committee of investigation did plan to ask the old lady to confirm her nephew’s version of events, but, before they could, she fell down an elevator shaft and died.
If you’re a UN bigshot, or the son of Kofi Annan, or the cousin of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, or any of the other well-connected guys on the Oil-for-Fraud payroll, $160,000 is pretty small beer. But, if you’re a starving kid in Ramadi or Nasariyah, it would go quite a long way. Instead, the starving-kid money went a long way in the opposite direction, to the Swiss bank accounts of Saddam’s apologists. “The Secretary-General is shocked by what the report has to say about Mr Sevan,” declared Kofi Annan’s chief of staff, Britain’s own Mark Malloch Brown.
Suddenly everyone is “shocked! Shocked!”
How come I don’t feel shocked? Why does none of this surprise me? How can these bigshot be “shocked” when I’m just a little old nobody in a nothing-sort-of-town, and “I” am not shocked?
Hmph. Maybe “I” should be in the UN, and they should be in the nothing-sort-of-towns. Or better yet. In prisons.
I’ve been hearing for years that Bill Clinton’s ambition is to be the next UN Sec’y General.
What a surprise.
SPEAKING OF WHICH UPDATE: I just noticed that Betsy Newmark is ruminating on the same subject, via Bernard Higgins (whose blog is called “A Certain Slant of Light” – very good. One of favorite Dickenson poems!)
Sez Bernard: Ponder it: Bill Clinton, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 44th President of the United States. Read it again. Read it and weep.Preposterous? Not at all. Do you think it was sheer happenstance that the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, just named Bill Clinton to a two-year term as the U.N.’s special envoy to the Asian tsunami relief effort?
Sez Betsy: I think that if Bill Clinton became the Secretary General it would doom Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008. I can just imagine Democratic debates in the primaries in 2008 to have someone like John Edwards look soulfully into the camera and say “While I admire the great abilities of Senator Clinton, I just don’t think that the country should be governed by someone whose husband is the head of the UN. That is a conflict of interest that would make every move Mrs. Clinton made suspect.
Sez me: If this plan is in fact in the works, it would make no sense for Bill to become Secy’ General before the ’08 elections. Currently, no nation that sits on the Security Council is allowed to take the Secy’ General seat, but it would merely involve a change in rules to put WJC in the chair, and while the US might not elect Hillary if Bill was the SecGen, the UN would change their rules in a heartbeat for President Hillary and Bill. They LOVE her; they LOVE THEM.
I suspect that much of what is going on right now, in terms of looking into the UN and its corruption, is meant to clean some rats out of the den and make just such a move more difficult…but it won’t be impossible. Hillary might not be electable if Bill is SecGen, but Bill could certainly be SecGen if Hillary gets into the WH.