Meantime, How is Ban Ki-Moon Doing?

01/31/2007 04:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My impression of Ban Ki Moon so far is that he plays his cards very close to his chest. He moves cautiously, as befits a new UN Secretary-General and seems to be very conscious of not making a wrong move. I have met him once and thought he had an intelligent, sensitive face. He seemed to be a friendly chap. But, while so far there is little in his pronouncements that I can disagree with -- he makes the right progressive gestures -- on Darfur, on the death penalty (though it took him 24 hours to do so), on reforming the UN management, on upgrading the Human Rights Council-- he does not possess the passion or soul which Kofi Annan had. It is still too early in his tenure. He needs time to develop. However I am beginning to become concerned that he may be veering more toward the style of a bureaucrat than the mode of articulate and bold leadership. For the moment, he mouths the right words but it's difficult to tell whether he feels them deeply in his heart. If this is the approach he gradually adopts, then I would say he is likely to be a consolidator of Annan's changes rather than somebody who is pioneering new paths for the UN. But if that is the course he does follow, it also may be a reflection of that which the Big Powers on the Security Council wanted in a CEO. We will know better when he has been in office at least six months.