October 8, 2006

UN Sec-Gen Update, Given NoKo Nuke Test: Uh-oh

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:48 pm

This is not good, especially given the news of North Korea’s nuke test:

The legacy of mediocrity continues.

The military coup in Thailand has essentially torpedoed the prospects of Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who had been endorsed by the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) and purportedly backed by China. The man left standing, and current frontrunner for Secretary-General after the informal Security Council vote on Monday (which will be formalized next week), is South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon. In Mr. Ban the world body will have one-upped Kofi Annan: whereas on the eve of his election the latter had been guilty of past dereliction, the former stands before the world community in 2006 complicit in ongoing horror.

Ban became the new (South Korean) president’s foreign policy advisor and, since 2004, his foreign minister. Since then, two milestones in particular stand out as indicative of the man.

  • In 2005 the UN General Assembly, in an almost unprecedented display of moral courage, actually passed a resolution censuring North Korea for “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” including “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, public executions, extrajudicial and arbitrary detention, the absence of due process and the rule of law, the imposition of the death penalty for political reasons, the existence of a large number of prison camps, and the extensive use of forced labor” as well as “all-pervasive and severe restrictions on freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression.” Things have to get bad if international diplomats are willing to use words like those found in that resolution. Where was Foreign Minister Ban in the midst of this? Instructing his envoys to abstain, and sending out a spokesman to explain that his approach was necessary “for the sake of more urgent and important policy goals integral to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
  • Earlier this summer, as Kim Jong-Il’s regime prepared to test its missiles, Ban’s foreign ministry insisted that Pyongyang was only planning to launch a civilian satellite. When Kim decided to celebrate the Fourth of July by firing off seven rockets — all of which are fully capable of hitting anywhere in South Korea — Ban’s government’s turned its ire on those who made an issue of incident, criticizing “the creation of a state of needless tension and confrontation by the excessive reaction of certain parties” which would “not be conducive to problem-solving.”

Is this the mettle one is to expect from the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations? If so, it won’t be long before we’ll be looking back nostalgically at the relatively courageous “Annan era.”

Yikes. This is especially troubling because this TCS Daily piece by Josh Manchester gives the impression that despite tonight’s nuke test by the NoKo, careful, calculated, firm, and ongoing diplomatic moves over the past several years at least have a chance of paying off by getting Pyongyang to foreswear its nuclear arsenal. It appears that part of the motivation for the test was to spite the Chicoms. If so, that’s actually good news, because the Chicoms had been coddling NoKo for quite some time. Now they appear to be convinced that a nuclear NoKo would not be a good thing.

I’m not happy to say this — I’m skeptical that anything short of armed conflict will convince the NoKos to stand down. But it figures that the new UN Sec-Gen’s appeasement posture might wreck whatever chance there might be of avoiding it.

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UPDATE: Allah at Hot Air notes that others share the “empty suit” assessment of Ban.

UPDATE 2: Also on the nuke test story — Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Ace, MK Ham, Wizbang, Atlas Shrugs, and I’m sure a host of others.

UPDATE 3: Ban as Sec-Gen is done deal.

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