|IS FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON SERIOUS?
15 December 2004
Some American papers claim he is. And some Americans would believe it is not just desirable but
possible. Very few amongst the general public know of the standing arrangement that no candidate from
any of the five permanent members could be seriously considered. The former President certainly
knows that. During his administration there was talk that First Lady Hillary was intereseted in a
senior U.N. posting like UNICEF. It was just talk -- table talk during a dinner party for the visiting
President of Ghana, at which Kofi Annan was present. But that speculation ended there and then as the
New York senatorial seat was available.
No doubt, William Jefferson Clinton could salvage the U.N. out of the abyss and thrust it into the
mainstream of relevance. His political brilliance is almost unparalleled and his commitment to human
causes is unquestionable. He will be a gem to bring into a U.N. sponsored venture like peace in the
Middle East. However, there are valid reasons why the founding fathers agreed that none of the
permanent five was entitled to field a Secretary General. Political balance, geographical spread,
and a politically neutral perception were among several other essential requirements. Particularly
with the unprecedented power of the United States, which is also the host country, it will be most
unlikely for at least France, Russia and China to go along. Even Tony Blair's Britain which may
welcome a Third Way comrade would find it awkward to go along. The majority mermership will feel
honoured by the interest but for practical political purposes would hesitate to give more power to
the most predominate power in the only forum left to harness it. Although he will be glad to leave it
to other countries to object, President George W. Bush would approach that candiditure with great
caution. He warmly welcomed his predecessor to the White House for the hanging of his portrait and
graciously joined the ceremony opening the W.J. Clinton Library in Arkansas. He and his First Lady
talk very warmly about the personality and commitment of the Clintons. But handing over "the world"
to a heavyweight Democrat with the stature and acumen of the former President? In these days of
"Red and Blue" states that is almost impossible. One way out: give him a U.S.-initiated U.N.
sponsored tough assignment like solving the Arab Israeli conflict. That will teach him not to