|HELLO SURAKIART SATHIRATAI.
15 October 2004
So you are now a declared candidate to be the next Secretary General and you have ten Asian ministers
to prove it. There are, of course, forty-one other Asian countries to persuade. But its a start. And you
have Richard Holbrooke on your side. Or at least he was quoted in the N.Y. Times to have said
something positive. He knows Asia since Vietnam and could be of great help -- if Senator Kerry wins.
Otherwise, you're on your own -- Americanwise, so to speak. How about Chinesewise? Clearly,
Singapore has backed down. A contractual arrangement with a New York "events" company to promote
their aspiring ambassador was wasted as he bade us farewell. Philippines, a U.N. country and a
Security Council member, must have recognized its slim chances. So now you're the first in the
ring. "The early bird gets the worm" said the Philippino. But the U.N. is certainly no worm. It is
more like the bird; who flies first gets shot at most. There are specialists in the art of the
ambush. That's a coward's game but some at U.N.
Headquarters love it, because others do their dirty work while they look -- though not necessarily
smell -- like a rose. There are also 180 members to carry on board, though the Security Council's
15 are essential. Five of them have veto power. The French will insist on a Francophone. "Je parle
un peux le francais" will not do. More will have to be squeezed out of you and your Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra. By the way, is there any shortcut to these wonderful sounding but difficult
names? Sahisak Paengketkoew, your current spokesman, may have a hard time introducing himself at
daily noon briefings. So will Supachai Panitchpakdi. One name alone like Surakiart Sathiratai may
be enough. Even then some would be more inclined to a more familiar Asian name -- like Jayantha