UN reform: stalled or stable? Posted By David Bosco Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 11:31 AM Share Over the past several weeks, I've spoken with several former Bush administration UN types who expressed concern that the Obama administration has gone soft on UN management reform. They cite a couple of issues. First, more than 18 months into Obama's term, there is still no permanent UN ambassador for management reform. That post is being filled by an American diplomat pulled from retirement (the original nominee was forced to withdraw). Second, American ambassador Susan Rice has explicitly delinked the issue of Security Council reform from broader management reform. One Bush official bemoaned this move, in particular. Because Security Council reform is the one thing UN members want most, he argues that the United States has ceded critical leverage. For their part, Obama administration officials insist that the reform agenda is moving ahead full steam and that the absence of a permanent ambassador hasn't slowed the U.S. mission's work. But it's very clear that the administration has dialed down the volume on the issue, and that's something the broader UN membership no doubt appreciates. The American ardor for cleaning out the UN stables has long perplexed many UN diplomats, who suspect the issue is less about management than politics: beating the UN over the head for its administrative failings serves as payback for regular UN criticism of American foreign policy. The issue isn't going away. Ban Ki-Moon is regularly ducking brickbats thrown by departing employees. And with Republicans set to make a comeback in Congress, you can be sure that the reform trumpets will sound again soon enough in Washington.