Half-way through Ban’s first term there is indeed room for a critical assessment of the former South Korean foreign minister, but the sources cited by Juul in her report bear similar examination of their motivation. For many of them, like Rupert Murdoch’s London Times or the National Interest’s Jacob Heibrunn – who wrote a blistering assault on Ban in Foreign Policy magazine (which in fact looked like the main reference for Juul’s report) – the UN is always wrong.
Indeed, their attacks could suggest that Ban has in fact outgrown the do-nothing role that former US envoy to the UN John Bolton allegedly scripted for him on his election. This has led to him joining the long line of UN secretaries general to be excoriated by the conservative press for not following orders.
Many analysts beleive Ban is most certainly not “charmless and spineless”. He is remarkably affable, charming and has shown strong attachment to principle – which may be one reason for the neo-liberal disaffection. He went on the hustings to campaign for the seat and while running explicitly avowed support for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept – a new international doctrine on the responsibility of sovereign states and the international community to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes – and the International Criminal Court. Neither of these moves were calculated to win the affections of president George W Bush or Bolton, who were in office at the time – nor indeed of China. He has maintained those stands, and recently steered the R2P concept away from the shipwreck planned for it by the Nicaraguan president of the General Assembly.
Since taking office, he has made climate change his pet issue – once again not music to the ears of his original Republican nominators, nor the Chinese, and he has not eschewed berating the powers for not taking it seriously.
Williams also points out that Ban is actually quite popular in China and Japan–no easy feat for a South Korean! Anyway, read the whole thing.