The grand opening of a United Nations General Assembly has its moral hazards. The flamboyant arrival of extravagant personalities–such as Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi–can make a democratic leader quiver, worrying that the paparazzi might capture a common moment in the hallway. Indeed, even U.S. president Barack Obama has had to map his movements carefully during his trip to New York to address the world’s largest multilateral organization.
Amid such a display, it is hard to address real problems much less seek consensus. Certainly, in such a milieu, it is odd to hear anyone protest that the U.N. Secretary-General also needs a more colorful personality.