An­nan says U.S. has lost its prin­ci­ples

The Washington Times Weekly - - World - By Betsy Pisik

NEW YORK — U.N. Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral Kofi An­nan on Dec. 11 called for the United States to re­spect­in­ter­na­tion­al­norms,point­edly con­trast­ing Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies in Iraq with the val­ues that made Amer­ica great.

In one of his last ma­jor speeches be­fore­leav­in­gof­fice,Mr.An­nanalso warned that mil­i­tary mea­sures and other steps in the war on ter­ror­ism were leav­ing U.S. al­lies “trou­bled and con­fused.”

In­what­waswide­ly­in­ter­pretedas a crit­i­cism of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies, Mr. An­nan said that suc­cess on the world stage is pos­si­ble “only [. . . ] if Amer­ica re­mains true­toit­sprin­ci­ples,in­cludinginthe strug­gle against ter­ror­ism.”

Mr.An­nan­saidafter­hisspeechat theHar­ryTru­manPres­i­den­tialMu­se­u­mandLi­brary­inIn­de­pen­dence, Mo.,thathe­was­not­mean­ing­t­o­crit­i­cize the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, but sim­ply to en­cour­age it to do the things that have earned the na­tion re­spect in the past.

But the sug­ges­tion that the coun­try has strayed from its own val­ues was un­mis­tak­able.

“When it ap­pears to aban­don its own­ide­al­san­dob­jec­tives,its­friends abroad are nat­u­rally trou­bled and con­fused.And­states­need­to­playby therulesto­ward­sea­chother,aswell as to­wards their own cit­i­zens,” he said in his speech.

“No state can make its own ac­tions le­git­i­mate in the eyes of oth­ers. When power, es­pe­cially mil­i­tary force,is­used,the­world­will­con­sider it le­git­i­mate only when con­vinced that it is be­ing used for the right pur­pose — for broadly shared aims — in­ac­cor­dance­with­broadly­ac­cepted norms.”

State De­part­ment spokesman Sean McCor­mack down­played the crit­i­cism, say­ing it was nor­mal for a U.N. chief to dis­agree with Wash­ing­ton on some is­sues.

“There’s no sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the United Na­tions that’s go­ing to be in­lock­step­with­theUnit­edS­tate­sor any other coun­try with re­gard to its poli­cies. It’s not that per­son’s job,” he said.

But re­tir­ing Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illi­nois Repub­li­can and chair­man of the House In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, sug­gested Mr. An­nan was sim­ply try­ing to di­vert at­ten­tion from the United Na­tions’ own man­age­ment fail­ures.

Mr.An­nan’s“fail­ure­toac­cep­tany re­spon­si­bil­ity for a decade of U.N. scan­dals” is “both un­der­stand­able and com­pletely pre­dictable,” said Mr. Hyde, whose com­mit­tee ex­ten­sively in­ves­ti­gated the scan­dalplaguedU.N.oil-for-food­pro­gramin Iraq.

U.N. of­fi­cials be­gan tout­ing the speech­tore­porter­son­e­weekear­lier, aware of its po­ten­tial im­pact in Wash­ing­ton.

Mr. An­nan’s deputy, Mark Mal­loch Brown, in­curred harsh crit­i­cism when he sug­gested ear­lier this year that the U.S. gov­ern­ment was not do­ing enough to de­fend the or­ga­ni­za­tion against its crit­ics.

In his speech, Mr. An­nan urged the United States to ap­ply its own found­ing prin­ci­ples in its in­ter­na­tional deal­ings.

“The U.S. has given the world an ex­am­ple of a democ­racy in which ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the most pow­er­ful, is sub­ject to le­gal re­straint,” he said. “Its cur­rent mo­ment of world supremacy gives it a priceless op­por­tu­nity to en­trench the same prin­ci­ples at the global level.”

He also cau­tioned the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion to con­sider the global im­pact of their ac­tions.

“To­daythe­ac­tion­so­fon­es­tate­can of­ten have a de­ci­sive ef­fect on the lives of peo­ple in other states,” Mr. An­nan­said.“So­doe­sit­no­towe­some ac­count to those other states and their cit­i­zens, as well as to its own? I be­lieve it does.”

He added: “As things stand, ac­count­abil­ity be­tween states is highly skewed. Poor and weak states are eas­ily held to ac­count, be­cause they need for­eign as­sis­tance. But large and pow­er­ful states, whose ac­tions have the great­est im­pact on oth­ers, can be con­strained only by their own peo­ple, work­ing through their do­mes­tic in­sti­tu­tions.”

David R. Sands con­trib­uted to this re­port.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Part­ing shots: Out­go­ing U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Kofi An­nan called on the U.S. to stay true to its val­ues on Dec. 11 at the Harry S. Tru­man Pres­i­den­tial Mu­seum and Li­brary in In­de­pen­dence, Mo.

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