Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's fruitless visit to Burma in the beginning of July is indicative of a Secretary-General and an organization who are struggling to show leadership. In a time when the UN and the need for multilateral solutions to global crises are more needed than ever, Ban and the UN are conspicuous by their absence. During the last six months, where the follow-up to the many crises that left their imprint on the General Assembly during the fall should have brought the Secretary-General and the UN into play at full force, the opposite seems to have happened.
In relation to the financial crisis , neither the Secretary-General nor the General Assembly - despite the summit on the financial crisis during the end of June - have shown themselves to be the most important arena, and the vacuum is being filled by the G-20 and other actors. Ban's voice on behalf of the G-172 and the poor is barely being registered. And at times an invisible Secretary-General, in combination with a rather special president of the General Assembly, has to a large extent placed the UN on the sidelines and the organisation has not known when to act. In the environment/energy area the UN also struggles to be relevant, despite the planned climate summit at the opening of the General Assembly in the fall. Even though the Secretary-General repeats ad nauseam that Copenhagen must "seal the deal", there is widespread concern that the UN summit will not contribute anything worth mentioning in the process towards Copenhagen.
In the many political/security-related crises around the world the Secretary-General's leadership and ability to deliver on behalf of the international organization are also found wanting. Burma is a shining example. There was no shortage of warnings that the Secretary-General should not go at this time. The Americans were among the most sceptical of him going, while the British believed he should. Special Envoy Gambari was also sceptical at the outset, but Ban insisted. Gambari noted that recent negative press (with headlines such as "Whereabouts unknown" in The Times and "Nowhere Man" in Foreign Policy) had made Ban even more determined to visit Burma. After a seemingly fruitless visit by the Secretary-General, the UN's "good offices" will be made even more difficult. Special Envoy Gambari will have major problems during the aftermath, after "the top man" has failed and the generals in Yangoon no longer want to meet with him.
Another example of weak handling by the Secretary-General is the war in Sri Lanka . The Secretary-General was a powerless observer to thousands of civilians losing their lives and becoming displaced from their homes. The authorities in Colombo refused to see the Secretary-General while the war was ongoing, but he was heartily invited - and accepted an invitation - as soon as the war was "won". Even though the UN's humanitarian effort has been active and honest enough, the moral voice and authority of the Secretary-General has been missing.
In other "crises areas" such as Darfur, Somalia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and not least the Congo , the Secretary-General's appeals, often irresolute and lacking in dedication, seem to fall on deaf ears. Many would also claim that the handling of the investigative committee, following the war in Gaza , ended with an unstable and overly careful follow up.
More surprising, and all the more disappointing, is that Ban Ki-moon has been almost absent on the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation. This was an issue he himself held forward as a principal area of focus before he took over his post. The re-organisation of the department for disarmament into an office directly under the Secretary-General, run by a High Representative, signalled a major focus on this area, also given the Secretary-General's background on the Korean peninsula. With discussions of a new non-proliferation agreement in 2010 and a U.S. administration that have put the theme much higher on the agenda, it is discouraging that the Secretary-General is not to a larger degree involved.
What all these examples have in common is that a spineless and charmless Secretary-General , has not compensated this by appointing high profile and visible coworkers. Ban has systematically appointed Special Representatives and top officals in the Secretariat who have not been visibly outstanding - with the exception of Afghanistan. In addition he seems to prefer to be in the center without competition from his coworkers and has implied quite clearly that press statements are for him exclusively. The result is that the UN is a less visible and relevant actor in various areas where it would have been natural and necessary for the UN to be engaged. An honorable exception is the appointment of Helen Clark as the new leader of UNDP . She has in a short time, done good things. It will be interesting to see if she will be given space to give the UN a profile in the area of development. As a woman from this side of the world, Clark could soon turn into a candidate for Ban´s second term.
It is common knowledge that it was a deliberate choice of the former US administration not to prefer an activist Secretary-General. The current American Administration has not yet signalled any changes in its postition towards Ban, however, there are rumours that in certain quarters in Washington Ban is refered to as a "one term SG." It is understood that people in the circles of Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton are very negative to Ban, but neither of them has given any declarations. China is also quite positive to him and it is primarily China who holds the key to Ban´s second mandate. Russia has for a long time been dissatisfied with the Secretary-General´s handling of both Kosovo and Georgia but also the lack of appointments of Russians to leading position at the UN. At the same time the Russians, however, have no problems with a not too-interventionist Secretary-General.
Half way through his term, one feels that the member states are increasingly negative towards Ban. Many considered that Ban should be given time and he would improve as he gained experience and any comparison with his charismatic predecessor was unfair. Among those, however, the tone has changed, and now the argument of his learning-potential has expired and the lack of charisma has become a burden. The Secretary-General seems to function quite well when he sticks to a script and performs at larger meetings and arrangements. The problem arises when he is "on his own" and is incapable of setting the agenda, inspiring enthousiasm and show leadership- not even internally. The consequence of Ban´s lack of engagement and interest in studying well enough the problems, is that he fails to be an effective actor or negotiator in the many negotiation processes he is supposed to handle.
The atmosphere in the "house" is described as being less than motivating. The decision making structure is hampered by the fact that all information both up and down is filtered by the omni-present chef de cabinet, Kim. After the latest round of negative media coverage, it is understood that the atmosphere on the 38th floor is rather tense . Ban has constant outbreaks of rage which even the most cautious and experienced staff find hard to tackle. The relations with the Deputy-Secretary-General Migiro are also tense and her marge de manouvre seems - if possible- to have decreased. There are constant rumours of replacements and reshuffling. In addition to constant rumours about Migiro leaving, there are rumours that the overwhelmingly well liked OCHA chief John Holmes will be promoted to chef de cabinet and that Nambiar will leave. Same goes with the head of DPA, Pascoe - Holmes is also tipped as a candidate for his succession. The Brits are understood to want that position "back". These are, however, only rumours and most likely Ban will continue with the same staff - at least until the end of the year. If that is enough to secure him another term, only time can tell.
Reprinted with permission from FP Passport, 24/8/2009. c 2009 by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC.
Reprinted with permission from www.ForeignPolicy.com, August 2009. ©2009 by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC.
역시 위험한 사무 총장, 반(潘) 모토후미(基文) 노르웨이 외교관의 혹평 메모를 발단에 비판이 일거에 솟아나온 반(潘) 모토후미(基文). 6월에 그 무능만을 논한 필자가 변경해서 지적하는 「이 남자가 위험한 이유」 2009년08월31일(월） 17시48분 제이 장애물·하일 겨(내셔널·인터레스트(interest)지 시니어 에디터)
반(潘) 모토후미(基文)(밴·【기문】)유엔 사무 총장은, 이렇게 된다고는 몇개월전까지 생각해도 없었을 것이다. 여기에 들어오고, 유엔 사무 총장의 직장을 1기한(한계)로 물러나는 처지가 될 가능성이 나온 것이다.
계기는, 8월19일에 그 고장지에 폭로된 노르웨이 외무성의 극비문서다. 그 문서로 노르웨이의 【모나】·【유루】차석 유엔 대사는, 반(潘)을 지독하게 비판. 「용기가 없고」 「매력이 결여되어」 て 있고, 무엇 보다도 정책결정에 관해서 「무능」이라고, 본국의 외무성에 보고하고 있다.
반(潘)에게 대한 절망적인 불안감은, 조용히 퍼지기 시작하고 있었다. 최근, 영국 이코노미스트지나 영국 타임즈지(Times paper)등의 세계의 유력 미디어에, 반(潘)의 비전과 지도력, 정책수행 능력의 결여를 비판하는 기사가 잇따라서 놓여졌다. 나자신도 6월에, 그 무능만을 지적하는 기사를 막 썼다.
반(潘)과 그 주변은 반격에 기를 쓰고 있다. 기사를 쓴 후, 반(潘)의 수석보좌관은 나에게 분노의 서간을 보내고, 나의 비판을 「정치적인 동기」에 기초를 두는 책모의 일환이라고 엄하게 책했다. 그러나, (과연)정말로 【유루】의 비판까지 음모 큰 소리로 부르는 셈이게는 가지 않을 것이다.
노르웨이는 유엔에서 강한 영향력을 가지고, 고액의 분담금을 거출해 온 나라다. 【유루】의 비판은, 상당히 혹심한 타격이 틀림 없다. 반(潘)은 「군축과 (대량 살상 무기의) 확산 방지의 문제로 존재감이 없고」 「카리스마성이 결여되어」 る과, 【유루】는 단언했다.
명예만회를 노려서 더욱 무덤
이것은, 유엔의 외교당국의 사이에 널리 모두 소유되고 있는 견해이기도 한다. 반(潘)은 구하는 방법이 없을 만큼 무능한 유엔 사무 총장과 간주되고 있다. 어쨌든, 세계가 크게 변함없으면 안되는 시기에 리더쉽을 발휘할 수 없고, 무단결근을 계속하고 있을 것 같은 상태이었다.
요즘은 비판을 뒤엎자고 필사적이 되어 있지만, 그 시도가 점점 무능만을 부각시켰다. 스리랑카를 방문했을 때는, 정부군의 무차별폭격에 의해 난민화한 타미르인(Tamil)의 경우를 개선하기 위한 약속을 달 수 없었다.
버마(미얀마)에서는, 군사정권지도자와 회담하고, 군사정권에 보장을 주어버렸다. 그 반면에서 인권문제로 양보를 쟁취할 수는 있지 않고, 가택연금되고 있는 민주화 운동 지도자 아웅 산 수 지(Aung San Suu Kyi)의 해방 문제라도 진전은 없었다.
말 한마디로 말하면, 한국의 외교통상부장관 (외무장관)이었던 반(潘)이 현직에게 변하고나서의 2년반은, 마땅히 부끄럽게 여겨야 할 실패의 연속이었다.
비판에 대하여 반(潘)은 우선, 「자신은 조용한 외교를 실천하고 있는 것이다」라고 하는 취지의 반론을 했다. 그러나 반(潘)이 실천해 온 것은, 조용한 외교등이 아니다. 단지, 아무 것도 하지 않은 것 만큼이다.
그 결과, 반(潘)은 세계의 위대한 독재자를 묵인하고, 사실상의 공범자가 되고 있다. 세계의 위기에 관해서 「반(潘)과 유엔의 존재감의 없음은 두드러지고 있다」라고 【유루】가 쓴 것은, 그 점을 가리키고 있다.
즉각 퇴임하는 것이 세계 때문에
다음에 반(潘)은, 「유엔 사무 총장의 권한에는 한(한계)가 있다」라고 하는 취지의 반론을 했다. 확실히, 그 대로다. 해 빌려줘이기 때문에라고 말하고, 세계의 악당들에게 강한 자세로 임하지 않아서 좋다고 하는 것은 되지 않는다. 전임자의 코피·아난등 역대의 유엔 사무 총장은, 이 현직이 가지는 도덕상의 무게를 살리고, 그럭저럭 존재감을 내세워 왔다.
거기에, 분명히 사무 총장의 권한내의 사항인 유엔의 운영면에서도, 반(潘)의 방식은 칭찬할 수 있었던 것이 아니다. 유엔의 연고 주의의 체질을 바꾸려고 해서 오지 않았다.
실적을 올리기 위해서는 더욱 시간이 필요하다고, 반(潘)이나 그 주변은 주장할 것이다. 그러나, 더 이상의 시간을 주는 셈이게는 가지 않다. 2기째의 속투를 인정해야 하지 않는다라고 하는 것 뿐만 아니다. 도대체, 반(潘)은 유엔 사무 총장이 되어야 하지 않았다.
어쩌면, 1기째의 임기만료를 기다리지 않고, 이제 곧 반(潘)을 퇴임시키는 것을 목표로 하는 이례적인 움직임이 나오지 않는다고도 할 수 없다. 이 남자가 더 이상, 유엔과 세계에 데미지를 주기 전에.