The new PostGlobal question is out over at the Washington Post.
Here's the question, posed by David Ignatius:
"15 nations gather this week in New York to conduct a straw vote on who is to be the next U.N. Secretary General. Leading candidates include South Korea's Ban Ki Moon, India's Shashi Tharoor and Jordan's Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein. Who is the right successor to Kofi Annan? Should the U.S. support reliable South Korea, rising India or a troubled Middle East?"
And here's my post in response:
The question of whether the US should support South Korea, India, or Jordan is poorly framed. What matters is that the next Secretary General is able to command moral authority while working effectively with the great powers of the Security Council, including but not limited to the United States. From that perspective, it's seemed obvious for a long time that Shashi Tharoor is by far the best candidate. The South Korean candidate seems solid enough, but has nowhere near the global presence which a Sec Gen will need. Jordan's Prince is too young, and wouldn't do much for America or the UN with the Arab or Islamic worlds given the very low esteem in which the Hashemite monarchy is generally held there (as opposed to Washington). Tharoor has both the demonstrated intellectual chops, the global presence, and the experience at the UN that the next Sec Gen is going to need. The US really shouldn't be trying to force an "American" candidate on the UN, it should be interested in getting the best and most effective person for a tough job - someone who can stand up to the US when he needs to but can effectively work with the US to accomplish shared objectives. Tharoor seems like an obvious choice.
Couple of other quick comments which I didn't include in the PostGlobal response:
Al-Arabiya is currently running with a report in the Jordanian daily al-Arab al-Yom that Qatar is lobbying the straw vote to get people to vote against Prince Zayd. Supposedly, Qatar is pushing for the South Korean candidate instead. The only value in the report is as one more instance of the endlessly tiresome Saudi-Qatari rivalry.
The other amusing bit is in Daoud Kuttab's contribution to PostGlobal. Kuttab offers a rather desultory endorsement of the Jordanian candidate on the grounds that nominating an Arab would somehow help the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But revealingly, Kuttab says "Unfortunately, I have never heard the Jordanian representative but I am aware of what he represents." So a leading Palestinian journalist has never heard of the Jordanian candidate... kind of tells you what an impact his nomination would make at the Arab and Muslim level, no?