In This Review

Bending With The Winds: Kurt Waldheim And The United Nations
Bending With The Winds: Kurt Waldheim And The United Nations
By Seymour Maxwell Finger and Arnold A. Saltzman
Praeger, 1990, 144 pp

All those who wish to see the revitalization of the United Nations, and who believe that selecting a truly superior secretary general is key to this, should read this book. The sections dealing with Kurt Waldheim do not offer much that is new, but the sensitive evaluation of an allegedly flawed individual is meticulously undertaken on the basis of many interviews by the authors, experienced former diplomats. Waldheim does not emerge as evil as some have depicted him, and there is no evidence that he was blackmailed by governments, but he is viewed as mediocre, excessively ambitious and lacking in vision and integrity. How this man was originally chosen, given a second term and almost elected to a third is discussed in some detail and does little to maintain one's confidence in the decision-making process and wisdom of governments. The other parts of the book talk about the attributes that should be sought in a secretary general and suggest the procedures that would allow a first-class person to be chosen. This makes the book important today.