March 21, 2007

Khalilzad, the New US representative at the UN - A facelift?

John Bolton who did not get confirmed as the US representative to the UN last year will now make way for a new US representative, Khalmai Khalilzad who is currently serving as the US Ambassador to Iraq. Khalilzad has also been the special envoy for the US President to Afghanistan and was responsible for organizing the Afghan opposition against the Taliban.

Richard Haass, President on the Council of Foreign Affairs, when asked about Khalilzad this morning on NPR, pointed out that Khalilzad would be different from the brusque Bolton, who often clashed with his counterparts at the UN. Khalilzad, on the other hand, would work from within, and would not rile up things as his unconfirmed predecessor did.

The interview with Haass was enlightening in many ways. It did not just throw light on Khalil zad, the new US Representative to the UN, but it also informed me on the role of a US Representative to the UN. That the representative would debate, design, and uphold the UN policy, and would try to get his own government aboard on it as well. The foreign policy of the US would not affect the UN Representative's decisions or his actions. In the light of this enlightenment, what Haass said next, made me sit up and wonder. He said that Zad, as the new US representative would now first have to focus on 'fashioning an international consensus against Iran' that poses a nuclear threat, then focus on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and next keep up the pressure in Lebanon so that the Syrians don't get off the hook. My concern is that if a diplomat as eminent as Haass starts second guessing what a UN representative would do, and then devalues human life while prioritizing UN actions, then there is little hope left! The genocide in Darfur is "ongoing"; there are hundreds dying there as we speak! The threat of Iran may be imminent, but it is still only a threat, and keeping the pressure in Lebanon to keep Syria in check but reeks of US foreign policy.

Khalilzad as a 'fresh base' at the UN will have to do some 'damage control' after Bolton, but hopefully he is not a stooge of the US foreign policy makers trying to wring some arm at the UN. To quote Woody Allen, just as Haass did, "90% of life is about showing up;" However, one hopes Khalilzad is not ''showing up' in 'wolf garb!'


Naj said...

I read this New Yorker article about Khalilzad on airplane, flying to Texas!

I feared him!

One must fear Arab neoconservatives, just as much as one must fear Iranian neoconservatives, who work against their country of birth, in the name of peace and freedom.

I sense this man's job is to ease Arab's sentiments to unite against Iran. We shall see.

Id it is said...

Thanks for the link; I just added it on.
Let's hope Khalilzad proves a face lift for US diplomacy.

D said...

I'm xtremely cyncial about how US percieve UN, often as has been the case....US has used the forum for serving its own end. Now, be it Khalilzad or any one simply doesn't matters. Of course, we will not be seeing any on-the record comments like the previous big-mouth Haass...but I liked it, at least he said what he meant..or the US meant.

Sanjay said...

You know I think he is just a face lift and that is about it. The powers that be are still the same.

Lisa Francisco said...

No one is paying attention to this. No one is seeing the calculated strategy behind this. But how is my statement new? It isn't. But somehow i'm compelled to make that statement. hopefully someone will be compelled to see the calculated strategy

Invincible said...

i wud go with D's comment.

& thanx for the link to Nike's cricket commercial. As u might know, india is now out of the cricket world cup.

Anonymous said...

"Humanity like never before is at cross roads. one that leads to despair and other to utter hoplessness" Woody said this too

if someone manages to gain that consensus against Iran, i guess this quoate would gain weightage too.. i guess it is already gaining with the kind of switch in priorities that Haas has shown.


EXSENO said...

Since we are powerless in what affects our every being, I guess all we can do is sit back, say a prayer and hope that it will be a change for the good.

bharath said...

frankly, U.N is deeply flawed.

1. The bureaucracy is heavy and painful. Even the most essential is not being done in Sudan.

2. The idea of veto power in the hands of a few (including China and Russia, not really the beacons of democracy we love) is not particularly the best framework.

until both these are done with, I see U.N as dummy and any representative to that from any country as useless. Its great for India to have SAARC, Europe to have EU, Africa to have African Union. It can be much easier to accomplish things.

bharath said...

Thanks for the newyorker article link. They really like 8000 words articles. :) nice insight into the man behind the scene.