Annanism = Inanism
What Is Annanism?
Everyone seems to take some joy in listening to outgoing secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, especially during the holidays. But just as with other such ethicists as a lip-biting Bill Clinton or creased-browed Jimmy Carter, Annan is as publicly acclaimed as he is privately ignored. We like such itinerant moralists — more when they are off the job than on, and always in retrospect rather than contemporaneously. As we watch them hedge, we somehow feel apologetic rather than outraged over their latest deception.
The secretary-general — introduced with fulsome praise by Sen. Chuck Hagel — recently gave a remarkable farewell speech at the Truman Library. It was delivered in his customary soothing inflection with impeccable diction, and it was just as customarily predictable — the content was as historically inaccurate as it was exemplary of what we have now come to know as “Annanism.”