The Next SG

It’s not yet official, but news outlets are reporting that it looks likely that South Korean Ban Ki-Moon will be the next Secretary General. In a straw poll yesterday, the South Korean Foreign Minister garnered 14 positive votes. Crucially, not one permanent Security Council member voted against him. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it looks increasingly likely that Ban will be the next Secretary General.

But with the ink barely dry on the straw-poll, a predicable cadre of anti-UN agitators on the right are already finding reasons to brand Mr. Ban a villain. Asking “Will the UN pick another crook?” the Director of Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies alleges that “soft bribery” likely contributed to Ban Ki-Moon’s success. The Foundation’s Alykhan Velshi somehow finds a correlation between Ban’s success in Monday’s straw poll and South Korea’s recent decision to increase its foreign development aid. Specifically, Velshi points to South Korean aid to Ghana and Tanzania, two rotating members of the Security Council, as somehow corrupting the selection process in a way that guaranteed Ban’s success.What Velshi fails to explain is that Ban’s fortunes rose and fell with the support of the permanent five members of the Security Council. And neither the United States, nor the United Kingdom, nor Russia, nor France nor China received development aid, yet they somehow managed to support Mr. Ban. Could it be that they think he might be a competent manager?

Tellingly, Velshi’s essay does not take into account that, even if the alleged bribery to Ghana and Tanzania did occur, it would not had much of an effect on Ban’s fortunes. Somehow, I can’t help but think that the Foundation is fishing for an excuse to tar and feather the new Secretary General, just as they did the last one.