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New boss


I'm still not really used to it, but we have a new boss of the world. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is no longer our trusted Kofi Annan, but ...
Ban Ki-moon.

In Ko Colijns column in Vrij Nederland today (the preference for daily newspapers would change, but Vrij Nederland and the VARA Gids remained constant in my parental home) I read that Ban has written a report on the situation in Afghanistan.

Ban himself? No. A senior staff member, of course, who relies on expert reports, which in turn are derived from third-party analysis. If you're lucky, there are eyewitnesses somewhere at the bottom of the reporting food chain. (What interests are served by such reports, I wonder, other than transparency – maybe more on this later.)

The insurgency in Afghanistan, Ban says, ‘has been reinforced by its strategic successes. The number of attacks has doubled, the number of suicide attacks tripled.’

Almost verbatim the last line of my debut, The Cassandra Paradox, which I wrote in the course of 2005. Am I clairvoyant? No. What I can predict is that our government will soon decide that the deployment of Dutch troops in Uruzgan will be extended.