Clinton-Annan minuet now playing at the United Nations

The last few months have seen a range of news stories regarding the United Nations, the oil—for—food scandal, and the role that the Annan family has played in the decline of the United Nations. Flying under the radar screen has been the extent to which Bill Clinton and his allies have worked their wiles and contacts to burrow in to the leadership of the United Nations.

This has taken the form of a series of deals — Clinton is the maestro of dealmaking — by which the Clinton forces have rallied to the defense of the beleaguered Kofi Annan and have come to occupy key positions of influence within that organization.

This conduct is a shameful abdication of the traditional role that former Presidents have always played in American history, and is a raw display of the Machiavellian ways that the Clinton family will continue to engage in, as Hillary approaches her coronation as the Democratic candidate for President in 2008.

The recent public revelations alone are cause for suspicion, let alone what might well lie below the surface, in private meetings, tacit understandings, the wink of an eye, and a knowing grin or two.
 
Most publicly, Bill Clinton gets appointed by Kofi Annan to a high profile UN post as its special envoy on tsunami relief at the nominal salary of $1 a year. His new position accomplishes two goals for Clinton: it helps bathe him in the spotlight that he finds so nourishing to his ego; and it undoubtedly helps burnish the presidential prospects of wife Hillary, who is the Senator from New York, the domicile of the UN.

The Democrats will continue to claim that George Bush and his Republican supporters wage war and that the Democrats (symbolized by  Bill Clinton) are the party which offers relief to the downtrodden and victimized. This will go down well overseas and will be reflected domestically, as foreign leaders continue to attempt to influence American politics.

Furthermore, Hillary may benefit from Bill's newest post. The ability to handle international affairs is one of the prime requisites that voters look for in their presidential candidates and the opportunity to prove such skills is difficult for most contestants. Perhaps some of the glow from Bill's position, and some of the overseas photo ops with Hillary in tow will rub off on Hillary as she seeks the presidential nomination.
 
Kofi Annan gains some points with Senator Clinton for promoting the Clinton brand name. He may need these chits amidst Congressional voices calling for his resignation. The scandalous affairs that Annan finds himself in the middle of could never dissuade a Clinton from lending moral and other support to Annan. After all, scandal is a state of affairs with which Bill Clinton has been intimately familiar in his own past, and his ability to adroitly maneuver away from the consequences of his own actions is a legendary talent.

Clinton has already lent Annan the skills and connections of some of his former aides and officials. For example, Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke have had a semi—secret meeting with Annan in order to give him pointers on deflecting American pressure. Albright is the former Secretary of State under Clinton and Holbrooke was the US Ambassador to the UN, Assistant Secretary of State, Special Envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo, and is a Washington power broker of the first rank.
 
Now it appears that lawyer Greg Craig, who helped Clinton during the Elian Gonzales immigration issue, and also helped him avoid an impeachment conviction following the Monica Lewinsky affair, has been for some time the lawyer for Kofi Annan. Craig is representing Annan free of charge. If only the skills of such lawyers were available to the rest of us on such generous terms!

There is more: a lawyer for a key witness who cooperated with the committee investigating the Oil—for—Food scandal charges that Clinton's consigliore has manipulated the panel to discredit his client and presumably help the Annan family.

In a nutshell, Clinton provides Annan with high—powered diplomatic and legal talent (who may have bent or broken the rules to manipulate the  investigation) free of charge, to defeat efforts by Congress to discover the truth behind the Oil—for Food scandal. Most recently, Clinton has had his former Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles, join him at the UN at the similar salary of $1 a year. He has been sharing an office at the United Nations with Bill Clinton for the past month, so in essence the Oval Office has been duplicated at the United Nations .

When questioned about this arrangement, Clinton rises to Annan's defense,

"I support the secretary—general we have. I like him, I admire him, I think he is doing a good job"

and goes on further to state,

"I am his employee...it would be unseemly for me to be anything else right now."

Right now? Does Mr. Clinton have higher aspirations?
 
This co—opting of leading Democratic figures by Kofi Annan merely further tarnishes the party of John Kerry. The UN is being investigated by Congress, and for the ex—President to move his coterie with him to Turtle Bay is yet another attempt by Annan to manipulate the domestic political scene to further his goals of staying in power.

How harsh will the already obedient Democratic Party be during its investigations when its elder statesman and key political player (and husband of a powerful Senator and future Presidential candidate) goes to bat for the UN and the Annan family? Perhaps this is why Annan's public relations flak, Mark Malloch Brown, can confidently  tell the Financial Times (as he did yesterday),

"As someone who takes the pulse of Washington pretty continuosly, I do think there's been a peaking of the visceral right—wing 'destroy the U.N. mode' ".
 
This colonization of the United Nations by the Clinton extended family is abhorrent.

Most ex—Presidents are willing to give others a chance to rise to positions of prominence. They can serve as honorary chairmen of this or that chairty group, write memoirs, serve on boards of directors, and preside over presidential libraries. They don't need to interject themselves into international affairs (particularly accepting positions in international bodies undergoing Congressional oversight) in order to promote a spouse's political career.

The last few months have seen a range of news stories regarding the United Nations, the oil—for—food scandal, and the role that the Annan family has played in the decline of the United Nations. Flying under the radar screen has been the extent to which Bill Clinton and his allies have worked their wiles and contacts to burrow in to the leadership of the United Nations.

This has taken the form of a series of deals — Clinton is the maestro of dealmaking — by which the Clinton forces have rallied to the defense of the beleaguered Kofi Annan and have come to occupy key positions of influence within that organization.

This conduct is a shameful abdication of the traditional role that former Presidents have always played in American history, and is a raw display of the Machiavellian ways that the Clinton family will continue to engage in, as Hillary approaches her coronation as the Democratic candidate for President in 2008.

The recent public revelations alone are cause for suspicion, let alone what might well lie below the surface, in private meetings, tacit understandings, the wink of an eye, and a knowing grin or two.
 
Most publicly, Bill Clinton gets appointed by Kofi Annan to a high profile UN post as its special envoy on tsunami relief at the nominal salary of $1 a year. His new position accomplishes two goals for Clinton: it helps bathe him in the spotlight that he finds so nourishing to his ego; and it undoubtedly helps burnish the presidential prospects of wife Hillary, who is the Senator from New York, the domicile of the UN.

The Democrats will continue to claim that George Bush and his Republican supporters wage war and that the Democrats (symbolized by  Bill Clinton) are the party which offers relief to the downtrodden and victimized. This will go down well overseas and will be reflected domestically, as foreign leaders continue to attempt to influence American politics.

Furthermore, Hillary may benefit from Bill's newest post. The ability to handle international affairs is one of the prime requisites that voters look for in their presidential candidates and the opportunity to prove such skills is difficult for most contestants. Perhaps some of the glow from Bill's position, and some of the overseas photo ops with Hillary in tow will rub off on Hillary as she seeks the presidential nomination.
 
Kofi Annan gains some points with Senator Clinton for promoting the Clinton brand name. He may need these chits amidst Congressional voices calling for his resignation. The scandalous affairs that Annan finds himself in the middle of could never dissuade a Clinton from lending moral and other support to Annan. After all, scandal is a state of affairs with which Bill Clinton has been intimately familiar in his own past, and his ability to adroitly maneuver away from the consequences of his own actions is a legendary talent.

Clinton has already lent Annan the skills and connections of some of his former aides and officials. For example, Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke have had a semi—secret meeting with Annan in order to give him pointers on deflecting American pressure. Albright is the former Secretary of State under Clinton and Holbrooke was the US Ambassador to the UN, Assistant Secretary of State, Special Envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo, and is a Washington power broker of the first rank.
 
Now it appears that lawyer Greg Craig, who helped Clinton during the Elian Gonzales immigration issue, and also helped him avoid an impeachment conviction following the Monica Lewinsky affair, has been for some time the lawyer for Kofi Annan. Craig is representing Annan free of charge. If only the skills of such lawyers were available to the rest of us on such generous terms!

There is more: a lawyer for a key witness who cooperated with the committee investigating the Oil—for—Food scandal charges that Clinton's consigliore has manipulated the panel to discredit his client and presumably help the Annan family.

In a nutshell, Clinton provides Annan with high—powered diplomatic and legal talent (who may have bent or broken the rules to manipulate the  investigation) free of charge, to defeat efforts by Congress to discover the truth behind the Oil—for Food scandal. Most recently, Clinton has had his former Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles, join him at the UN at the similar salary of $1 a year. He has been sharing an office at the United Nations with Bill Clinton for the past month, so in essence the Oval Office has been duplicated at the United Nations .

When questioned about this arrangement, Clinton rises to Annan's defense,

"I support the secretary—general we have. I like him, I admire him, I think he is doing a good job"

and goes on further to state,

"I am his employee...it would be unseemly for me to be anything else right now."

Right now? Does Mr. Clinton have higher aspirations?
 
This co—opting of leading Democratic figures by Kofi Annan merely further tarnishes the party of John Kerry. The UN is being investigated by Congress, and for the ex—President to move his coterie with him to Turtle Bay is yet another attempt by Annan to manipulate the domestic political scene to further his goals of staying in power.

How harsh will the already obedient Democratic Party be during its investigations when its elder statesman and key political player (and husband of a powerful Senator and future Presidential candidate) goes to bat for the UN and the Annan family? Perhaps this is why Annan's public relations flak, Mark Malloch Brown, can confidently  tell the Financial Times (as he did yesterday),

"As someone who takes the pulse of Washington pretty continuosly, I do think there's been a peaking of the visceral right—wing 'destroy the U.N. mode' ".
 
This colonization of the United Nations by the Clinton extended family is abhorrent.

Most ex—Presidents are willing to give others a chance to rise to positions of prominence. They can serve as honorary chairmen of this or that chairty group, write memoirs, serve on boards of directors, and preside over presidential libraries. They don't need to interject themselves into international affairs (particularly accepting positions in international bodies undergoing Congressional oversight) in order to promote a spouse's political career.