Courtesy Reuters

For Richard C. Holbrooke, managing U.S.-U.N. relations must feel a bit like taking over as skipper of the Titanic -- after the iceberg. As soon as a truculent Senate finally confirmed him as permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations in August, Holbrooke headed off to the Balkans, where the West has handed the United Nations a peacekeeping migraine. In Kosovo, the province's political future remains utterly unresolved, most of the population wants an independent state that the West will not give, and a still-domineering Kosovo Liberation Army -- despite a September agreement to disband -- loses no opportunity to defy an organization it knows is in disrepute both on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

The real problem for the United Nations is that, after six years of worsening U.S.-U.N. relations and a series of bloody peacekeeping disasters, a skeptical Clinton

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