Big People, Big Ideas

Generally speaking, there’s a negative correlation between the prominence of the author of an op-ed piece and the novelty and notability of the views expressed in said piece. Politicians and high-ranking administrators tend toward pieces which are at best mundane and at worst inane. Thankfully, this morning’s Washington Post op-ed from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon defies this pattern. Building on the diplomatic breakthrough in Darfur which he helped orchestrate this week (in which 25,000 UN peacekeepers will be allowed in, which is a necessary step if the violence is to ebb), Ban correlates the global warming-caused decline in precipitation in Darfur to periods of violence, and very convincingly at that. It’s an fascinating argument, the kind that’s usually only advanced by little-known academics in pages like this. For it to be promoted by someone as high-profile as Ban is heartening.

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