A New Role for Former Presidents?

I was interested to read in the last couple of weeks the news of ex-President Clinton’s new job: as the UN Tsunami Aid Envoy. This follows on the heels of his official (nominated by President Bush) US fundraising capacity together with ex-President George H.W. Bush.

I think this is kind of cool. President Clinton, despite his moral shortgivings, does indeed have skills that can be very beneficial in a role such as this. Also, I actually do trust him not to abscond with hundreds of millions of dollars, as ended up being the case with the UN’s management of the Oil-for-Food Prgramme.

Could the UN be a place for former US Presidents to make a beneficial contribution to world affairs? Ex-Presidents are people with enormous influence accumulated over years of service and political networking on the international scene. They have also stood at the head of a booming economy and relatively efficient governmental system. As such, they have much to offer the UN, which is in dire need of effective management to restore its credibility and influence. Maybe there is a bigger role within the UN for President Clinton in the future, but for now, I support him as the Tsunami Aid Envoy.

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7 thoughts on “A New Role for Former Presidents?

  1. Nice ideas, John. Judging by last night, being an ex-President also means getting the red-carpet treatment at the Superbowl. Not bad. It’s good to see Bush Sr. and Clinton finding it in themselves to work together.

    I’ve got to flag a couple of things you say, though (not just to be argumentative, honest!). You do know that the UN Oil-for-Food programme was administered by the Security Council, that not one contract was signed without the SC’s permission? As a member of the SC, the US, then, must shoulder some of the blame. Whilst not wishing to diminish the scandal, I feel that it has become an convenient excuse for further UN-bashing.

    Also, why is that that Clinton’s name can only ever be brought up along with his “moral failings”. Of course, in the end that’s his own fault and he was a rapscallion of the first order. But we only judge his moral failings because he got caught. You do not know the morals of people whose “sins” might still be private. And don’t forget: George H.W. was also guilty of certain extra-marital adventures. Leave the morals out. Do you have any failings? Should we make those public? In the end resukt, Bill was a pretty good president. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  2. I was unaware that “not one contract was signed without the SC’s permission.” I don’t doubt that you know what you’re talking about, but I find it hard to believe that Annan’s son’s corruption can be laid at the feet of the United States.

    With regards to Clinton, you have answered your own questions when you wrote <>in the end that’s his own fault and he was a rapscallion of the first order<>. Yes, we know about other President’s immoralities. Kennedy’s extra-marital life, for example, is famous. We all take that for granted, unfortunately. The problem with Clinton was not only that he abused his power to have oral sex in the oval office but that he committed perjury to cover it up. If the extra-marital oral sex is not unbecoming of a President, then perjury certainly is. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2F2005%2F02%2Fnew-role-for-former-presidents.html%23comments" TITLE="john dot fowles at gmx dot net">john fowles<>

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  3. “If the extra-marital oral sex is not unbecoming of a President, then perjury certainly is.”
    Or, if not perjury, then certainly perjury regarding extra-marital oral sex while being deposed in a sexual harassment lawsuit, said lawsuit being directed at himself (the more ponders it, the more one galls at his disregard for the law as applied to himself). 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="">John C. <>

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  4. Personally, I think what Nixon did was worse, but we’re in the wrong generation to bash on Nixon. . . . 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2F2005%2F02%2Fnew-role-for-former-presidents.html%23comments" TITLE="john dot fowles at gmx dot net">john fowles<>

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  5. But I hasten to add, John C., that you are absolutely right. The context of the Clinton scandal is what made it really egregious and is what causes the phenomenon that Ronan noted–that Clinton’s name is always mentioned with a caveat about “moral failings.” 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2F2005%2F02%2Fnew-role-for-former-presidents.html" TITLE="john dot fowles at gmx dot net">john fowles<>

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  6. And allow me to add, John F., that I am always up for a good Nixon bash, but this is perhaps not the forum for it. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com%2Funitedbrethren" TITLE="">John C.<>

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  7. Oops, forgot myself for a moment. This is the right place for a Nixon bash. So, here it is.
    Nixon completed the work begun by Johnson in that thanks to these two Americans had confirmed to themselves that the people who became President were not the most moral of people. Yet, overall, both accomplished some laudable things. So, public personal morality was no longer a qualification for a good presidency. Ergo: Bill really was a good president.
    Most who voted for him either time knew about the rumors of indiscretions, they just felt that being publicly immoral was insignificant compared to the plusses he could bring to the table. Presidents, after Nixon, were no longer thought to be the sort of people you would want your daughter to date (to use a double standard). So, Clinton’s indiscretions did nothing to threaten whether or not he was thought of as being “presidential” (to use the standard that brought us John Kerry). 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="">John C.<>

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