Ban Ki-Moon Must Be A Pretty Good Choice

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For the next Secretary General of the UN. Despite there really not being an awful lot of information available on the man, all the major powers including the US backed him. But what really says he must be a good choice: UN bureaucrats HATE the choice.

Senior officials at the United Nations expressed despair yesterday at the prospect of Kofi Annan being succeeded as secretary general by Ban Ki-moon, the South Korean foreign minister.

"The mood among staff is glum," one of the officials said. "We are not very excited about the outcome." With morale low at the UN after five years dominated by divisions, deadlock and corruption, they are sceptical about Mr Ban's ability to turn the organisation round or provide the strong, inspirational leadership they had been hoping for.

Another official, who has met Mr Ban several times, said: "He is pretty faceless and does not have much charisma. Kofi, for all his problems, is a man of considerable dignity, political insight and wide international experience."

Officials, who requested anonymity on the grounds that they would be working for Mr Ban, portray him as more secretary than general, happier with the minutiae of administrative detail than broad strategy, and a man given to platitudes.

But the South Korean foreign ministry claimed the perception of Mr Ban as weak is misleading. Park Soogil, a veteran diplomat put forward by the ministry for interview, said: "In the Oriental culture leadership is assessed in a different way. One can look very affable, very gentle, but inside his mind he has a strong conviction … appearance is one thing, his firm beliefs and readiness to make tough decisions is another."

Mr Park, who worked with Mr Ban, added: "He knows how to disagree without being disagreeable."

Someone put a link in comments on an earlier post that that pointed to some highly negative analysis of Ban. That is the only place I have read any assessment even close to that harsh. There really is not a lot to go on about the man. He'd have to work pretty hard to be worse that Kofi Annan has been for the UN and the world itself, though.

UPDATE: Alexandra at All Things Beautiful notices the same article and reaches pretty close to the same conclusions.

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