The new year marks the semi-official kickoff of the race to select the next UN secretary general. Ban Ki Moon’s second and final term expires at the end of the year and now it is up to the world — more specifically the Security Council with input from the General Assembly — to find his replacement.

On the line with me to discuss the likely candidates for the next secretary general and the diplomatic intrigue that will surround this whole process and provide a great deal of subtext for diplomacy at the UN this year is Richard Gowan. He is a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for International Cooperation. He’s also out with a new piece in The American Interest taking a look at US priorities at the UN during Obama’s last year in office.

But we kick off and devote most of this episode to the big question of who will replace Ban Ki Moon and how that selection will be made. And we start by discussing what’s known in UN circles as the so-called “Bulgarian Primary.”

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