|DOES JEFFREY SACHS SPEAK FOR KOFI ANNAN? DOES HE REFLECT UNITED
15 November 2004
The day President George W. Bush was announced winner of U.S. elections, 3 November, BBC main anchor
woman in Washington, the brilliant Kathy Kay, sought the comment of Jeffrey Sachs, who was introduced
as "Adviser to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan." The interview was about the impact on U.S.
relations with the rest of the world. Professor Sachs made interesting points. Very interesting. But,
was he speaking for Kofi Annan, or for himself? Now, one would hardly wish to tangle with the
professor. He is intensely and highly wired, purposeful and committed to his determined opinion.
He had a special role in diverting billions of international funds to Yeltsin's Russia, most of which
were unaccounted for -- something like a non-U.N. Food-for-Oil plan, only the main actors were
prominent Americans and Russians influencing some senior Americans in a previous Administration. Hence, no outcry
but outright admiration for pulling it off with impressive compassion. Thus no quarrel intended.
Indeed, the promotional professor could bring added value to the U.N. Development program, for
instance. Eventually he may persuade billionaires George Soros, Stephen Bing and possibly T. Boone
Chickens to help the homeless in Darfur or the jobless in Ouagadougou. Meanwhile, however, the
question relates to the practical interest of the United Nations and the political credibility of its
Secretary General. Already Kofi Annan was accused of interfering in U.S. elections through making
difficulties for candidate Bush in the interest of candidate Kerry. Fairly or unfairly, that brought
about unwarranted attacks against the United Nations, undermining it in the minds of a sizeable
portion of a usually pro-U.N. American public. That is why it has always been a firm policy by every
other Secretary General to avoid any semblance of partiality, particularly in the election process
of the host country. Annan's official spokesman has valiently tried to make that point, obviously
to no avail. Free-wheeling intervention by "special adviser" Jeffrey Sachs would only add to the
confusion -- unless he was indeed speaking for Kofi Annan.