U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took his criticism of the Bush administration to the US heartland Monday, saying America must not sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism.
Annan said, “Human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity.”
When the U.S. “appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused,” Annan told a packed room at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library.
Annan also said the U.N. Security Council should be expanded to better reflect today’s world. Annan, an increasingly vocal critic of the war in Iraq, leaves the United Nations on Dec. 31 after 10 years as secretary-general.
He chose the Truman museum for his final major speech in part because it is dedicated to a president who was instrumental in the organization’s founding.
Annan said he was appealing for cooperation and leadership, not criticizing the United States. “What I am saying here is that when the U.S. works with other countries in a multilateral system, we do extremely well,” Annan said. The U.S. has a special responsibility to the world because of its extraordinary power, he said.
Annan outlined what he called “five lessons” he had learned in the last 10 years at the helm of the United Nations. These could be summed up as five principles which are essential for the future conduct of international relations: collective responsibility, global solidarity, the rule of law, mutual accountability, and multilateralism.