Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

Replacing Kofi

In case the current round of scandals at the United Nations forces Kofi Annan out as U.N. Secretary General, Glenn Reynolds wants to name former Czech president Vaclav Havel as Kofi’s successor.

I’d give Havel the nod. He has a clear vision of reform for the U.N. and he is an advocate of democracies spreading democracy.

The fall of communism was an opportunity to create more-effective global political institutions based on democratic principles – institutions that could stop what appears to be the self-destructive tendency of our industrial world. If we do not want to be overrun by anonymous forces, then the principles of freedom, equality and solidarity – the foundation of stability in Western democracies – must start working globally.

But, above all, it is necessary that we not lose faith in the meaning of alternative centers of thought and civic action. Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing that attempts to change the established order and objective laws do not make sense. Let’s try to build a global civil society that insist that politics is not just a technology of power, but must have a moral dimension.

At the same time, politicians in democratic countries need to think seriously about reforms of international institutions to make them capable of real global governance. We could start, for example, with the United Nations, which, in its current form, is a relic of the situation shortly after World War II. It does not reflect the influence of some new regional powers, while immorally equating countries whose representatives are democratically elected and those whose representatives speak only for themselves or their juntas, at best.

Unfortunately, his reformist nature and advocacy of democracy are his biggist drawback for getting the position. I don’t think, realistically, that he has a chance. Too many of those who profited from the oil-for-food scandal would see his tenure as a call for reform. Not the kind of thing a self-interested autocrat wants to see.

But Captain Ed has picked his own candidate.