Never mind that Annan's accord has yet to be ratified by the Security Council and faces increasing opposition on Capitol Hill; Dhanapala, who was once in the running for secretary general, will be officially named head chaperone Thursday.
It's another display of Annan's skills as a diplomat that he simply ignores the bickering in Washington. Trent Lott complained Wednesday that "the secretary general is calling the shots, the U.S. is not." The majority leader is right, of course. That is a natural outcome of the U.S. policy, begun under George Bush, of insisting that the confrontation with Iraq be under U.N. auspices.
But as Lott might grudgingly admit, calling Mideast shots these days is no mean feat. Annan even got the unqualified support of Richard Butler, the UNSCOM chief who was recently hauled up before the secretary general for impolitic comments. The accord should help complete weapons inspections within the year, said Butler: "If [the Iraqis] follow what is in Kofi Annan's document and really cooperate with us... we are talking a relatively good, short time." So it'll all be over by Christmas?