Kofi Annan in Kansas City
Annan is a cosumate diplomat and always well-spoken, but this speech combined genuine concern, sincerity, and the best slams on the Bush administration since Hugo Chavez graced the podium at the general assembly. It was incredible. Of course Hugo was about as diplomatic as an AK-47....
Anyway, Annan spoke of five lessons he's learned while serving as Secretary General of the UN. The first was that everyone's security is related to everyone else's security. One country cannot have security at the expense of depriving another country of the same.
Second, we are responsible to some degree for each other's welfare. At least in offering equal opportunities. The world cannot continue when some people are getting massively rich off of globalization and others have no opportunities but to starve. A system that lopsided will never work.
Third, both prosperity and security depend on the respecting of human rights and the rule of law.
We must be willing to stand up for those things, whether they are being denied by inter-country conflict or by tyrants abusing their own populations.
Fourth, all governments must be held accountable for their actions - not just the poor ones and not just enemies of the US.
Fifth, situations in the world must be addressed in multilateral ways and the institutions through which that occurs must be organized and run democratically, giving the weak and poor nations some measure of say-so.
What a brilliant and sincere man. He is truly calling for a return to the ideals and vision (American, btw) that created the UN. He is appealing to America for selfless leadership and responsible actions in a world where the balance of power is so lopsided that the only thing that can couterbalance it is responsible, sane and concensus-oriented leadership.
You can read Monday's farewell speech here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/10/AR2006121000768.html?nav=r ss_opinion/columns
And listen to it here:
The date of the broadcast was Monday, Dec. 11, 2006