Via Arts & Letters Daily comes a Nation review of two book about Kofi Annan and the U.N. and how both are/were/always will be tools of the U.S.
Snippet which seems to undermine that very point:
The invasion of Iraq, however, would pose a severer test. Annan had presided over the sanctions regime without a qualm and not demurred at Operation Desert Fox, the four-day bombing campaign Clinton oversaw in 1998. When the Bush Administration began its push for war with Resolution 1441, which declared Iraq in material breach of all past resolutions on its disarmament, Annan swung into action to pressure all members of the Security Council to vote for it, personally phoning Syria's President Bashar Assad to insure that there would not be a single abstention. Unanimity was secured, but a hitch arose at the next stage. The French told the White House that while they could not accept a second Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq, which would implicate them, they had no objection to a US invasion based on an American interpretation of 1441–the course that Cheney was urging within the Administration. But Blair, who wanted to join in the attack, insisted that a second resolution was necessary to protect him from criticisms at home, and got Powell's support for a futile attempt to circumvent a French veto in the Security Council. Such mutual hypocrisies put Annan in an awkward spot. Blessing the Balkan War was one thing: In 1999, the West was united in the attack on Yugoslavia. But now the West, to all appearances, was divided. What should he do? If only the French had come round, we learn, all might have been well. "He would have accepted, and perhaps even embraced," Traub tells us, "a resolution authorizing war so long as the council was firmly united behind it." But unity was not forthcoming, and an embrace remained out of reach. Operation Iraqi Freedom rolled ahead. In March 2003, "shock and awe" hit Baghdad….
The future of the United Nations is safe. It will continue to be, as it was intended to be, a serviceable auxiliary mechanism of the Pax Americana.
Which is not to say there's anything good about Annan or the U.N.–once dubbed the "unimportant nations" by Reason's Brian Doherty. But I find the above somewhat confusing.