Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali passed away yesterday of complications from a fall. He was 93.
Boutros-Ghali didn’t seem like a bad choice for the job 25 years ago. After all, he was a key figure in negotiating the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel.
But Boutros-Ghali was heavily criticized from the UN’s response in Bosnia and Rwanda and did little to stop its bureaucratic bloating or corruption. He would run afoul of the Clinton Administration which stopped him for earning a second term. In his obit, NRO’s David Pryce-Jones described Boutros-Ghali as “an elegant and fastidious conservative.” Yet it must be remembered that Boutros-Ghali was a bête-noire of Republicans in the mid-1990’s, particularly Senate Majority Leader and later presidential candidate Bob Dole. This certainly hastened the Clinton Administration’s efforts to jettison Boutros-Ghali.
While there may have been a compelling argument to get rid of Boutros-Ghali 20 years ago, we ended up with Kofi Annan and the Oil for Food programme. But the problem wasn’t Boutros-Ghali, but rather the UN itself. Disposing of Boutros-Ghali proved the old rule that getting rid of something bad often results in getting something worse.
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