National Review Online vs. Kofi Annan

One has to question the moral compass of the editors of the National Review Online. In back to back “symposiums” NRO contributors take turns exculpating one of South America’s most brutal dictators, then in the next breath brand Kofi Annan the leader of a terrorist organization.

On Monday, the National Review ran a series of articles on the legacy of Augusto Pinochet, which as Spencer Ackerman notes, includes a choice contribution from Mario Loyola who argues that the former Chilean dictator “worked hard to protect the bases of a modern progressive democracy.” Then, on Tuesday, The National Review uses the outgoing Secretary General’s valedictory speech at the Truman Presidential Library to launch a series of attacks on Kofi Annan, culminating in accusations that he is a terrorists’ stooge.Contributors to the Annan-hate-a-thon range the ideological gamut from fellows of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the Heritage Foundation. But it is the Hudson Institute’s Anne Bayefsky who hurls the most over-the-top criticism:

“Kofi Annan will forever be remembered as the secretary-general who presided over the biggest and most insidious hijacking of the global agenda which has ever occurred. … over a decade with Kofi Annan at the helm, the U.N. has become an instrument of terror. A place which has no definition of terrorism because the terrorists and their allies run it, while democracies pay the bill.” (Emphasis added)

One has to wonder what part of the terrorist agenda is served by eradicating polio, running war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, administering elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, and keeping the peace in Haiti and the Congo?

More to the point, for the past four years right wing critics like Bayefsky have used Annan as a whipping boy to vent their innate hostility to multilateral platforms like the United Nations. My only question is how long it will take the Bayefsky crowd to turn Ban Ki-moon, who takes over from Annan in January, into a boogeyman of the right. I don’t imagine it takes much time. For all along, it was not Annan they hated, but the very idea of the United Nations.

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