Thursday, June 2, 2005

Bill for World President

In late February, when former President Bill Clinton came to Seoul for a booksigning, I had a chance to meet him at the Kyobo Bookstore in Kangnam. Either he is really tall, or I am really short, since he towered over me.

He was gaunt — a result of his bypass surgery — but he powerfully shook my hand and spoke to me in his charmingly gravelly voice. I carried on a very brief conversation with the man while he signed my copy of his book, My Life.

"It's an honor to meet you, Sir. I voted for you twice."
"Well, thank you. So what do you do here in Seoul?"
"I blog*."
"That's just great."

Anyway, there has long been talk about Bill lobbying to become the next UN Secretary-General, a position for which he is eminently qualified. And if that really happens, it would be a needed balance to the image of Bush's America that does whatever the hell it wants to for whatever reasons it wants to.

This talk apparently isn't just talk, according to this article in the Washington Post.

*Actually, I told him something else, but I'd rather not say here.


  1. Haha, I wish you HAD said "I blog" -- the conversation is so funny when you read it like that. btw, great post on the Korea/Corea debate. i realize now that i just never questioned what my mom said about the change to K by the japanese during colonialism.

  2. I can't imagine what would be worse, keeping Kofi Annan in place or replacing him with Clinton.

    Regardless of where you stand politically with Clinton, I think it would be very difficult for the UN to accept him as the next secretary general because of Hillary's position as a senator and a potential presidential candidate. It would also be difficult given Bill's status as a former US president.

    Whether true or not, it would look as if the UN was totally controlled by the US. You can't deny that the UN would have direct, backchannel access to the US and US policymakers. It would give the impression that the US through Bill's spouse, as well as his position as an ex-president, would control what the UN does and how it votes.

    Also, Bill as UN Sec Gen raises the problem for the US of potentially pitting the UN, led by an ex-US president, against a current US president. There is little doubt that Bill and Bush fundamentally disagree on everything. If Hillary doesn't get voted in (or if she does!), it is likely that the US would take positions counter to what the UN wants. Do we really want that mess on our hands? It might be fun on one level to see the two entities fighting each other, but it certainly doesn't help the United States internationally.

  3. Baduk, your statement that the US should own the UN is interesting in as much as it, in effect, eliminates the UN. I have my own problems with the UN, but does it really have much of a role anymore? If the US, or any other single country, controls the UN, the international organization ceases to serve its purpose.

    Maybe it is time to due away with the organization. Has it done anything noteworthy in recent years? It has become fairly anti-US and aims its self-righteous guns at the top two or three economies in the world.

    So, what happens if it disappears? We just go back to a world of alliances. If a single country controlled the UN, that is all you would have anyway--a huge alliance. Those that don't like being allied with the controlling country would leave the UN.

    Don't think that Bill is corruption free, though. He and Hillary have been surrounded by corruption their entire career. In fact, the investigation into her real estate dealings did discover evidence that she was involved in less than legal dealings. The prosecutor decided not to press charges, though, because there was not enough evidence to indict a sitting First Lady. That same investigation, though, resulted in the prosecution of every single one of her real estate partners--they all ended up behind bars.

    There are far more qualified individuals out there to head the UN than Bill. I agree, though, that Kofi has got to go.

  4. Someone like Bill Clinton would be an outstanding UN Secretary General. Unfortunately I don’t think it would be wise to have an American in that position. The US is already the most influential nation in the world, having a former US president as UN Secretary General would give a false impression of US global domination.


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