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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 18th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 Former President Bill Clinton, who earlier this week shared the podium with UNSG Ban Ki-moon at the UN, when the latter appointed him as his representative for Haiti, was scheduled to share with him also the dinner table, podium, and the “GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD of THE FOREIGN POLICY ASSOCIATION at its 2009 Global Philanthropy Awards Dinner, Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, at the St. Regis Roof Ballroom, Midtown Manhattan.

Considering that all at the UN seem to believe that Mr. Ban Ki-moon has actually started already his re-election campaign, at a time he is very much under criticism for the very low key ways he handles important issues that end up in his lap – this as his main focus seems to be on the dictum “do not offend” when this applies to the main powers that will decide on his reelection. He makes statements that are not intended to lead to results, and some actually even question sometimes the veracity of what was said – this is unforgivable.

We looked at all of this and concluded, these last days, that Bill Clinton was ill advice at cooperating with the UNSG if he is simply used as a way to collect IOUs from the US Administration to be used later in the re-election campaign.

We wrote about this at: www.sustainabilitank.info/?s=Ban+…

Thinking about the FPA event, further, these days of Washington’s involvement in Climate Change, sharing the podium also with the CEO of the Italian oil company – ENI – who was getting the FPA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award – might also not have been the greatest idea either.

Last night I went to St. Regis, saw the Sri Lankan Tamils demonstrating across the street and asking where was Ban Ki-moon when 30, 000 of their people were being killed? Why does he get that Humanitarian Award? They would rather see him go home.

Upstairs, at the dinner table, I saw Mr. Ban Ki-moon, but could not find Mr. Clinton.

Then, when the speaking part started we were informed that Bill Clinton is a no-show. We were told that he could not come because of an emergency in the family – but we were not told what happened. The quiet of the announcement took me back, and I must confess that my feeling was that we were not told the whole truth and secretly I was hoping that Mr. Clinton just decided that this company became too hot for him, and for his wife who is now the official of the family. I listened to the Ban Ki-moon speech, the Paolo Scaroni speech, picked up an ENI documents gift bag, and went home where my wife told me that it was on TV that Hillary Clinton fell and injured her right elbow.

I got my lesson of not jumping to conclusions in the future before collecting more facts, but to be honest, even though I am very sorry for Hillary Clinton’s injury – I think she saved him from future embarrassment as it might have happened had he shared the dinner table last night.

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fractured her right elbow during a fall Wednesday, her chief of staff said. Clinton was on her way to the White House when she fell chief of staff Cheryl Mills said.

Clinton was treated at The George Washington University Hospital, just a few blocks from State Department headquarters, before going home. She will undergo surgery to repair her elbow in the coming week, Mills said.

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Who was at the event? Obviously, many of the FPA members that paid $1,000 per person for that priviledge, but this time also many UN Ambassadors of oil producing countries and at least one top current official of a US oil company. When I looked for the very few Ambassadors from non-oil countries, I found that in India and Poland there is involvement By ENI as well.

Looking at the hand-out material from ENI – it comes in tabloid sized journals called simply “Oil” – the March 2009 Editorial evaluates the new Administration in Washington as: “The begining, however was warm, without being heartwarming.” The first article says that the real world crisis is water and then an article by former Senator Gary Hart, being introduced as a “renowned green politician” who advocates adapting a new lifestyle and energy saving as the only choice for America if it wants to free itself from dependency on oil supplies from the Gulf. Then “The challenge for Obama is foreign policy and not the economy.” That issue was called “Up & Down” and also contained among other material an interview – “Talking to Daniel Yergin” (from the Boston based CERA consultants) – “The impetus towards recovery from the energy industry – the transformations in the energy world will contribute to counterbalancing the downturn. The US and China will form a new axis of international growth.” Talking about Europe ENI finds that “Disunity can be Strength.” There is a positive article about India – “Elephant fights back,” there is the prediction of China increasing consumption, and of Cuba producing oil.

The June issue of “Oil” titled “the choice.” It starts with pieces on “the theocratic democracy in Iran” and then moves about Iran to “the future lies underground” and this means oil and more oil – leading to Obama’s “the choice” and it is about the US-Iran relationship – with protagonists – Obama and Ahmadi-Nejad. “Obama’s overture – the cold and the lukewarm.” It goes deeper – into “IRANOMICS” studying the policy mistakes made by the US in the past and the few issues US diplomacy should concentrate with. ENI finds that Ayatollah and the US have converging interests. Europe, above all, would gain most from a possible easing of tensions. However, talking to an Iranian ex-governor of the Central Bank – Moscow and some Arab countries are opposed to this for fear of losing their role. Not bad as policy studies paid for by oil!

From here to the need for “mature” diplomacy asa understood by Brent Scowcroft of the Nixon days and keeping an eye on geopolitics as seen by Richard Nathan Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations a clearly solid Republican home.

The former Italian Ambassador too India and Iran, Roberto Toscano, finds “less ideology in the Iranian puzzle” and he lifts the veil “on the “curse of oil and the role played by Italy.” Looking back to the days of Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes, there is hope in finding a future of thawing of relations with Iran that everyone can benefit. There is some more material and we clearly were impressed though we think that all of this goes against what President Obama said about Iraq that paraphrased meant – we will not be after your oil. Now clearly, if Washington does not find other topics of conversation with Iran in order to build a relationship – all of the above is rightly nothing more then another road to disaster.

We hope that someone sent a package of ENI to the missing Bill Clinton and we hope he would think like us – that this is not what Obama and Hillary need.

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To the essence of the event,   I will defer to   the excellent report by InnerCityPress – the writing is so good that we will not attempt to compete with it. I will only add that in his opening, when Mr. Ban Ki-moon tipped his hat to the Tamils, he said that he was the first and last of the world leaders to go to Sri Lanka. He also said he met there with Tamil leaders but as we understand from the press – the last point of meeting Tamils is being left in contention by people that were there with him – but where it seems that he does have a point is the fact that in today’s world the Tamils rank for nothing – so if nobody else in leadership position is speaking up for them – who is he to do so?Aha! but he is just getting the Humanitarian Award of the world corporate philanthropies – does that pass onto him the responsibility to go further then the common politicians?

UN’s Ban Tips Hat to Protesters from High Above NY, Claims He Met With Tamils.

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 — It was projected as a light evening of honor for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to receive from the Foreign Policy Association a Global Humanitarian Award, along with former US president Bill Clinton.

Clinton, however, canceled his appearance due to “family health issues” — word on the street, literally 55th Street in front of the St. Regis Hotel, was that Hillary was in a car crash. And Ban himself was protested, for hours, with chants urging him to resign, or to “go home,” or at least to feel shame.

The protesters, it must be said, were nearly entirely ethnic Tamils. Despite the tens of thousands of people killed in the war in Sri Lanka, unlike Darfur, Myanmar or the Middle East, the victims have yet to gain noticeable solidarity from non-Tamils. This feels of abandonment was palpable Wednesday night in front of the St. Regis Hotel.

Please read the excellent full report at: www.innercitypress.com/untrip4may…

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