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Choosing a New UN Secretary-General

By Stephen Lendman

Appointees serve five-year terms, renewable indefinitely. No one so far held the office more than 10 years.

UN Charter Chapter XV, Article 97 authorizes General Assembly members to appoint the body’s head - a rubber-stamp procedure once Security Council members present a nominee.

Five SC permanent members with veto power have most say over the selection process. America accepts no secretary-general it doesn’t control.

When his term ends on December 31, a new appointee will succeed Ban Ki-moon, in office since January 1, 2007, his tenure like his predecessor Kofi Annan reflecting failure, betrayal and complicity with high Western crimes.

Both UN heads failed to fulfill the mandate they were sworn to uphold: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights; to establish conditions (promoting) justice...equal rights of men and women (in all nations and respect for) international law (and) social ensure...armed force shall not be used.”

Annan turned a blind eye to the high crimes of the Clinton and Bush administrations. He supported Iraqi economic sanctions responsible for around 1.5 million deaths, including over one million children under age five.

He backed Bush’s illegal 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation, endless war continuing under Obama.

He supported naked aggression and occupation of Afghanistan, did nothing for Middle East peace, failed to condemn Israel’s occupation of Palestine or its 2006 war of aggression against Lebanon.

Throughout his two terms in office, he was a loyal Western servant, ignored the suffering of Africans throughout the continent, including immiseration of South African Blacks post-apartheid.

He supported thuggish UN peacekeeping paramilitaries in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sudan.

Ban Ki-moon has been no different, a loyal imperial tool, defending the indefensible throughout his tenure, silent about appalling Western/Israeli high crimes.

He failed to condemn human rights abuses or condemn violations. Nor did he denounce US-led imperial wars of aggression.

He promised to be a “harmonizer and bridge-builder.” Throughout his tenure, he’s been polar opposite what he swore to uphold, consistently violating core UN Charter provisions, complicit with Western and Israeli war crimes.

The UN never had a woman secretary-general. Four are vying for the job along with four men so far, notably former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called it vital for “the next secretary-general (to) enjoy the broadest possible support among members of the United Nations.”

United Nations Association-UK executive director and 1 for 7 Billion campaign for reforming the secretary-general selection process co-founder Natalie Samarasinghe explained throughout the world body’s history, appointees were always men, vetted not “to rock the boat and…cause the least trouble for” dominant Western powers.

In January, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida floated a rumor, suggesting Obama’s interest in succeeding Ban when he steps down on January 20, the day a new US president is inaugurated.

Whether true or not remains to be seen. He’ll most likely opt for multi-million dollar book deals, six-figure speaking engagements, and other ways to get super-rich.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


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