15 December 2007

Alas, the buck has been re-routed. Or to use a politically correct (collect?!) language, it was recycled.

Some of you may remember how often the buck had stopped here. Now, we're not so sure. It may have been lost between perception gimmicks, illusive roadmaps or high level (always very high level) meetings. Although many seem bent on taking decisions, no one wants to be held accountable.

Perhaps that's the "modernist" approach. The Twenty First Century approach. Have you tried to find out who's handling a specific issue? Who's dealing with the file? Who would give a clear definitive answer? What is his/her real name?

Officially, the buck would stop at the Secretary General's office. That's on the 38th floor, until further notice. Whether the famous Master Capital Plan in its ever-revolving incarnations would change that too remains to be seen. At a certain point in his tenure, Professor Boutros-Ghali made a special point about the location of the buck. His successor Kofi Annan, however, "bucked the buck," so to speak, opting for an Ashanti Asanti Sana Sana. Ban Ki-moon seems to be vaguely searching for it but not with special gusto. He operates with an earful of advice but very little practical effective help. Perhaps, careful as he is, he prefers to take his time to find out what would be most advisable for the future, whether in New York or Seoul.

Years ago, when none of us were present at the creation, President Harry Truman -- we were told -- located the buck. It was around the same time he signed the U.N. Charter. It was merely a coincidence. What he meant was that it stopped at the desk of the President of the United States of America.

Whether you were a distinguished Egyptian Professor, an inflated Ghanaian Functionnaire, or a future-looking Korean diplomat, what matters in the end is where you find the buck.