- By Colum Lynch
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. national security advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.
Let’s face it — there is a certain mystique surrounding the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. You get the feeling that they give access to troves of privileged information straight from foreign dignitaries whose credibility is further bolstered by their exotic names and high-flying titles.
In reality, those movers-and-shakers sometimes have no idea what they are talking about. Take a look at this cable, marked “confidential”: it recounts a June 25, 2006 meeting at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania between U.S. officials and Yves Horent, at the time head of the European Commission humanitarian aid office.
Entitled “Next U.N. Secretary General predicted by UNHCR and EU Aid Commissioner,” the cable describes Horent passing on the latest rumor he had picked up on the much anticipated race for U.N. Secretary General. Both Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, and Louis Michel, European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, believe that the next United Nations Secretary will be Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister,” the cable noted. “Horent noted that both officials, who visited refugee camps in western Tanzani June 15, were certain of Kasuri’s selection.”
The revelation must have come as something of a surprise to the Americans. Ban Ki moon, the South Korean foreign minister who ultimately won the race, was more than four months into an active campaign for the job, canvassing leaders of the key Security Council members. In a meeting with US official in Seoul the following month, Ban “reports no major opposition at this point” to his candidacy, though he fretted that his candidacy might have problems if the US didn’t soon show support.
The U.S. seemed to be quite happy with the prospects of Ban’s appointment, though in another cable released by WikiLeaks they did detail some potential “remaining hurdles” to a successful campaign. They included a serious deterioration in South Korea’ relations with North Korean, a possible campaign by Japan to thwart his candidacy, or the prospects of an Asian dark horse emerging with the power to win he blessing of the permanent five members.
As for Kasuri, the name didn’t come up.
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