How does the promotional push for Kofi Annan’s new book begin? Well, he says, if there’s one lesson the former Secretary-General of the United Nations has learned it’s this:
“You come to realize terrorists are a reality. You have to deal with them to bring peace. We have seen this in Northern Ireland and in other places. In the end, you have to talk. The same thing is going to have to happen in Syria.”
Upon reading this brilliant insight from someone who oversaw the United Nations during its halcyon days–1997-2006, they were great years, weren’t they?–I immediately rush-ordered his book Interventions: A Life in War and Peace. Unfortunately, I received an e-mail immediately after buying the book explaining that UPS had absorbed Interventions as part of its “Paper-for-Book-Sales Program,” meaning that, like the Oil-for-Food initiative, Annan’s son had been put on the payroll of UPS and there’d been some problems and I’d have to order the book again via the regular old mail. No refunds.
So, stuck now waiting for Annan’s book and starved with anticipation, I decided to brainstorm my own book about Annan until the real one arrived. My working title is Annan: Dispatches from the Reverse King Midas. The concept is this: billions of dollars have been made in the self-help and leadership genre between colored parachutes, mobile cheese, and Attila the Hun. What I would do is flip the entire genre on its ear, by presenting a book where you do the complete opposite of what’s suggested by the author.
With the exception of his good work on global AIDS and attempts to normalize Israel within the United Nations, I figured there is no better model for a book like this than studying much of the career of Kofi Annan. Here are some suggested chapters:
• Chapter 1: How Not to Direct UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa During the Rwandan Genocide
• Chapter 2: How Not to Perform Nepotism and Abuse a United Nations Program Meant to Help Ordinary Iraqi Citizens
• Chapter 3: How Not to Handle a Sexual Harassment Investigation Featuring Your High Commissioner for Refugees
• Chapter 4: How Not to Denounce a Security Fence That Protects a Besieged Population
• Chapter 5: How Not to Honor a Mass Murderer of Israelis En Route to a Holocaust Museum Dedication
• Chapter 6: How Not to Provide a Syrian Dictator Cover and International Legitimacy While He Murders His Own People
Commenters, did I leave anything out?
Kofi Annan: To Bring Peace, You Have to Deal With Terrorists [Times of Israel]
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.