The Los Angeles Times had an interesting editorial this weekend (registration required, but BugMeNot is your friend). They supported Bill Clinton for Secretary General of the United Nations. And, as disturbing as it may be, I find myself agreeing with them. Fortunately, I do so far different reasons.
1) As they point out, a Secretary General Clinton pretty much rules out the possibility of another President Clinton. Bill’s ascendancy will not only end Hillary’s quest to return to the White House, but has a fairly good chance of ending her Senate career too. While I doubt she would resign, the idea of both partners in a marriage holding such high office in two different governing bodies at the same time might finally be too much for too many people.
2) Bill Clinton, for the most part, has been a huge public pain in the ass since he left office. He needs the limelight, the attention, the adoration, the trappings of power, the public approval. Since he is Constitutionally banned from seeking the presidency again (a concept I find offensive intellectually, but appreciate in this case), and no Republican is going to appoint him to the Supreme Court, the UN represents one of the few ways he can return to some resemblance of his former prominence.
3) The United Nations has been a colossally corrupt, venal, impotent, misguided, bastion of anti-Westernism for decades. It has become a huge joke. It seems like there are a set number of actions it can take, and they are all written down and pulled out of a hat. Monday: condemn America. Tuesday: peacekeepers abuse refugees. Wednesday: financial abuse. Thursday: condemn Israel. Friday: Appoint horribly inappropriate nation to some commission. Saturday: sex scandal. Sunday: toss ’em back into the hat and shake ’em up again. As such, it is perfect for Bill Clinton. He can make speeches, hold conferences, and actually act like he’s doing all the things necessary to “reform” the World Body. To steal a line from P. J. O’Rourke’s “Parliament of Whores” (in describing the Supreme Court), Clinton can do “the most important kind of nothing” and keep out of real mischief.
4) It should thoroughly scuttle Hillary’s presidential campaign, and permanently sink her chances of ever becoming president. I know I mentioned it above, but it’s so important, it bears repeating.
5) On the slight chance that the United Nations can actually BE reformed and become relevant, someone like Bill Clinton just might be the kind of person who can do it. For whatever reason (and for me, the name “Faust” comes to mind), Bill Clinton has an enormous reservoir of good will. He has a head for bureaucracy and detail. And he has the kind of energy that such a Herculean task would require — Turtle Bay has always reminded me of the Augean Stables, for some reason.
6) Even if Bill does indulge his sexual peccadilloes once again, at least it’ll be with adults and, certain allegations never quite proven aside, with willing subordinates (albeit in violation of sexual harassment laws he himself signed.) This might actually influence the culture of the UN, where peacekeepers routinely extort sexual favors from female refugees — even children.
7) Did I mention that it’ll do wonders for keeping Hillary out of the Oval Office?
8) It’ll put a big “former” in front of Kofi Annan’s title, and that alone is worth a great deal.
9) No President Hillary.
As I said, it strikes me as disturbing to agree with the editorial board of The Los Angeles Times, but even a blind even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then, and a broken clock is right twice a day. Bill Clinton for Secretary General!
(Update: Link added. Doh!)