March 27, 2005

How About Howard Dean?

Glenn Reynolds nominates Vaclav Havel to replace Kofi Annan. I second that nomination. I can’t think of a single person in the world I’d rather see take Kofi's post.

Austin Bay wants more nominations. Okay, how about Howard Dean? I kid, but only by half. He might be more likely than Havel to take the job if he could get it. And he’d be a lot more likely to get the job in the first place if he were nominated (by somebody other than me.)

Standing up to the Bush Administration earned him plenty of street cred all over the world. UN fetishists and apparatchiks go for that sort of thing. He’s also earning some street cred with me because he at least partly understands what’s wrong with the so-called “international community.”

Dean may have opposed the Iraq war, but he’s not a foreign policy limp noodle like Kerry. He just thought that one war in particular was dumb. Say what you will about him, but he doesn’t shrink from a fight. He’s the kind of man who likes to roll up his sleeves and get scrappy.

I already published this quote from an article he wrote last summer, and I’ll happily run it again.

Europeans cannot criticize the United States for waging war in Iraq if they are unwilling to exhibit the moral fiber to stop genocide by acting collectively and with decisiveness. President Bush was wrong to go into Iraq unilaterally when Iraq posed no danger to the United States, but we were right to demand accountability from Saddam. We are also right to demand accountability in Sudan. Every day that goes by without meaningful sanctions and even military intervention in Sudan by African, European and if necessary U.N. forces is a day where hundreds of innocent civilians die and thousands are displaced from their land. Every day that goes by without action to stop the Sudan genocide is a day that the anti-Iraq war position so widely held in the rest of the world appears to be based less on principle and more on politics. And every day that goes by is a day in which George Bush's contempt for the international community, which I have denounced every day for two years, becomes more difficult to criticize.
Kofi Annan would never, ever, think or say anything like that. And I seriously doubt his replacement will ever think or say anything like that. Howard Dean might not be ideal, as Vaclav Havel would be. But he’d be such an improvement over Kofi Annan I’d pop a champagne cork if somehow, miraculously, he got the job.

He'd be at least slightly more likely to get Europeans to listen and work with us. He’d also be willing to kick some ass when it needs some kicking. As far as domestic politics go, he might help bridge one gap between American liberals and conservatives. He could make conservatives happy because he’d do a much better job than Kofi Annan. And because he’s such a hero to activist liberals, he could help them see that the UN really is broken. They won’t listen to Bush, but they will listen to him.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 27, 2005 10:21 PM
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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