The Washington Post‘s new on-line feature "PostGlobal," which is being moderated by David Ignatius and Fareed Zakaria, is hosting a debate this week on the replacement for Kofi Annan as UN chief. As I blogged previously, Jordan’s prince Zeid bin Ra’ad is among the candidates to replace Annan. Though he has an outside chance, he’s well qualified, having earned his BA in Poli-Sci at Johns
Hopkins and a PhD in history from Cambridge. He served as Jordan’s
deputy permanent representative before his current permanent representative post. As a UN chief, Prince Zeid would most likely put the Middle East crises on the global agenda. In this day and age, this is more than needed.
The Post debate is ongoing, though I couldn’t help but notice there there doesn’t seem to be much support for the prince. Here are few snippets from what readers are saying. Veteran journalist Daoud Kuttab said:
If the international community is serious about solving the Palestinian conflict then it should vote for the Jordanian candidate. Judging from the UN’s record, it seems unlikely that a Jordanian official — even a Hashemite prince — can do much, but it might be worth giving this seemingly intractable problem a chance to find a permanent solution.
On the other hand, if the position of the UN General Secretary is little more than a representative of the world conscience, then the smooth-tailing, experienced Indian candidate will probably prove more successful.
Another comment that caught my eye is one from Patrick in Egypt, who is not that excited about having a Jordanian chief.
I honestly think that South Korea’s leader will be the most impartial and suitable leader. Jordan’s leader should be ruled out. We’ve had an Arab Secretary-General in the 1990s (Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt) and having another one so soon would be understandably unfair. Furthermore, Prince Zeid would be too closely involved in a region that will probably be the focal point of many important and controversial UN measures. The UN can’t survive allegations of bias or unfairness.