[blogging the secretary-general]

UNSG.org is an intelligent Canadian blog on the selection process for the next UN Secretary-General. The latest post has some trenchant tea-leaf reading regarding last week’s straw poll. The blogger’s inside sources suggest that the lone “discourage” vote for South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, rather than coming from Japan or China, came from the United States, which may have simply voted “discourage” for all four candidates.

This is made more plausible by US Ambassador John Bolton’s bizarre recent comment describing “the ideal candidate as a proletarian — somebody who will work in the system, who will get his fingernails dirty or her fingernails dirty, and really manage the place, which is what it needs.” I love it when neocons pull out the Communist rhetoric. It makes me feel so deliciously dirty!

Seriously, though, this seems to be an attempt both to discredit the current candidates and to suggest that the new Secretary-General should be an anonymous nobody, to be treated with all the respect neocons generally accord to the proletariat. Or perhaps it’s just part of the Bush administration’s overall contempt for expertise, qualifications or demonstrations of competence — starting, of course, from the decidedly mediocre top man, and extending to people like Paul Bremmer, Michael Brown, Michael Chertoff, Harriet Miers, and of course Bolton himself.