"No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others."
Yesterday, the out going UN Secretary-General decided to have a pop at the Rethug regime that has made his second term in power a living hell.
Kofi Annan is no fool; he buttressed his call for a US return to multilateralism with quotes from President Harry S. Truman: "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world" but pulled no punches in his very genuine belief that the peoples of the world must stand together rather than pay lip-service to grand ideals.
He spoke passionately about the need for shared responsibility, a global solidarity and about moving legislation beyond pure rhetoric and taking direct and powerful action if necessary to make sure human rights are protected. He rebuked the United States for its illegal war in Iraq and for justifying torture in its war on terror: “No state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose, for broadly shared aims, in accordance with broadly accepted norms.”
I’m sure many Americans will disagree but considering that one UN Secretary-General was a Nazi war criminal, Kofi Annan had a pretty good record in power with only two rather grubby events cluttering up his legacy. For me, the Ruud Lubbers sexual harassment investigation was of more concern than the alleged Oil-for-Food Programme, which turned out to be an unfortunate event to happen on the watch of Kofi Annan but one in which he had no involvement.
There is one thing that cannot be knocked of Kofi Annan’s time in power; he was a very popular UN Secretary-General who unfortunately, was a lone dissenting voice in the rise of the attempted US neo-conservative hegemony and for that alone, he deserves some respect as he pissed admirably unto the wind. I’ll leave you with his comments delivered in September this year of the challenges facing his successor.
"And yet. And yet. Every day, reports reach us of new laws broken, of new bestial crimes to which individuals and minority groups are subjected…The events of the last 10 years have not resolved, but sharpened, the three great challenges I spoke of: an unjust world economy, world disorder and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law…as a result, we face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community, upon which this institution stands."
Let’s hope the world can pull together to banish these terrible injustices to the place where they belong.