Analysis: Clinton eyes U.N. post
By ROLAND FLAMINI, UPI Chief International Correspondent
WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has set his sights on becoming U.N. secretary-general. A Clinton insider and a senior U.N. source have told United Press International the 56-year-old former president would like to be named leader of the world body when Kofi Annan's term ends early in 2006.
"He definitely wants to do it," the Clinton insider said this week.
A Clinton candidacy is likely to receive overwhelming support from U.N. member states, particularly the Third World. Diplomats in Washington say Clinton would galvanize the United Nations and give an enormous boost to its prestige. But the former president's hopes hang on a crucial question that will not be addressed until after the presidential elections: can he get the support of the U.S. government -- a prerequisite for nomination?
The political wisdom is that a second George W. Bush presidency would cut him off at the pass. The notion of Clinton looming large in the international arena from "the glass tower" in New York would be intolerable to the Bush White House. If Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wins on Nov. 2 the prospect of Clinton as secretary-general won't exactly be welcome either, but Kerry would find it much harder -- if not impossible -- to go against it.
After a Middle East U.N. Secretary General (Boutros Boutros Ghali) and an African (Kofi Annan) it is generally considered Asia's turn to fill the post, U.N. experts say. No announcement has been made, but behind the scenes China is already pushing the candidacy of Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who also seems to have U.S. support. If Clinton does emerge as a candidate, however, China would most likely shift its support, the experts say.
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