Bush snubs India at the UN

Has the U.S. decided wisely in choosing to reward an old but wavering ally with the top job at the U.N. and, in the process, embarrass a new strategic partner? Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister of South Korea, is now for all intents and purposes Kofi Annan’s successor. The man he beat was India’s candidate, ...

606793_BanKiMoon15.jpg
606793_BanKiMoon15.jpg

Has the U.S. decided wisely in choosing to reward an old but wavering ally with the top job at the U.N. and, in the process, embarrass a new strategic partner? Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister of South Korea, is now for all intents and purposes Kofi Annan's successor. The man he beat was India's candidate, Shashi Tharoor, U.N. diplomat, part-time author, and FP contributor. Tharoor bowed out on Monday after receiving a 'blue ballot' against him (the ballots of the five permanent Security Council members are blue). A discouragement vote from a veto country is the kiss of death. Yesterday, Indian papers carried reports that the permanent member of the Security Council to oppose his candidacy was none other than India's new friend, the United States.

With characteristic self-flagellation, Indian editorial pages railed at the decision to support a candidate doomed to failure. Given American determination to bring in a U.N. outsider for the job and its none-too-subtle preference for the South Korean nominee, they argue India should have saved itself the embarrassment of being snubbed by the U.S. However, many in India had expected support for its candidate, especially after the U.S. announced that it was against expansion of the Security Council, which could have given India a permanent seat. The initial fallout of the U.S. veto of Tharoor seems limited to self criticism. But combined with the U.S. Congress going into recess without a decision on the nuclear cooperation bill and continued U.S. support for Pakistan (considered in India to be a terrorist sponsor), some in India are now questioning whether the U.S.-India friendship is genuine.

Having a staunch U.S. ally in the top job must seem like a great idea to Washington. But many are already questioning how much leverage the United Nations may lose in tough nuclear negotiations with, say, Iran or North Korea if the international body looks to be in Washington's pocket.

Has the U.S. decided wisely in choosing to reward an old but wavering ally with the top job at the U.N. and, in the process, embarrass a new strategic partner? Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister of South Korea, is now for all intents and purposes Kofi Annan’s successor. The man he beat was India’s candidate, Shashi Tharoor, U.N. diplomat, part-time author, and FP contributor. Tharoor bowed out on Monday after receiving a ‘blue ballot’ against him (the ballots of the five permanent Security Council members are blue). A discouragement vote from a veto country is the kiss of death. Yesterday, Indian papers carried reports that the permanent member of the Security Council to oppose his candidacy was none other than India’s new friend, the United States.

With characteristic self-flagellation, Indian editorial pages railed at the decision to support a candidate doomed to failure. Given American determination to bring in a U.N. outsider for the job and its none-too-subtle preference for the South Korean nominee, they argue India should have saved itself the embarrassment of being snubbed by the U.S. However, many in India had expected support for its candidate, especially after the U.S. announced that it was against expansion of the Security Council, which could have given India a permanent seat. The initial fallout of the U.S. veto of Tharoor seems limited to self criticism. But combined with the U.S. Congress going into recess without a decision on the nuclear cooperation bill and continued U.S. support for Pakistan (considered in India to be a terrorist sponsor), some in India are now questioning whether the U.S.-India friendship is genuine.

Having a staunch U.S. ally in the top job must seem like a great idea to Washington. But many are already questioning how much leverage the United Nations may lose in tough nuclear negotiations with, say, Iran or North Korea if the international body looks to be in Washington’s pocket.

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