I think I may say, without serious fear of contradiction, that most governments throughout human history have shown a propensity for corruption. In most countries of the world today, it's not hard to find somebody in power who's on the take. The only exceptions are those countries with a tradition of honorable service; with independent (and skeptical) voters, journalists, and prosecutors; and with a deovotion to the rule of law. And even there, you gotta stay on this, or you get nasty surprises all the time.
So, why should we be surprised if the UN and its servants and officials are dirty? Did we think these guys are all so altruistic that they would never -- I mean, they're just trying to preserve peace and order, right? (Snort)
If you wanna fix this, you gotta deal with two things. First of all, the UN needs a means of being accountable to its member states. I mean, it's all very well to have an International Criminal Court, but is that court going to be able and willing to prosecute Kofi Annan and his ilk? Second, we need to put some First World people with unblemished reputations in their own national leadership in positions of responsibility. Third Worlders who have worked for the UN their whole lives, or whose whole experience is in corrupt systems, don't inspire me.
In the meantime, all this just makes me want the US to resist those who see the UN as some morally superior body which transcends national sovereignty. Booshwah. It's a Parliament of Whores. Not that we should disengage from it -- but we should use our leadership in it to demand that it live up to proper standards. And we should start by sacking Kofi Annan.