Non–Violence or The Knotted Gun by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, next to the United Nations Headquarters, New York (Image: mira66 via Flickr)
The United Nations was set up to prevent World War III, Elena Galkina writes. But with wars raging in Ukraine and Syria, it is clear that the UN is not coping very well with its chief mission; and the reason it isn’t is simple: the right of each permanent member of the UN Security Council to veto anything it doesn’t like.
That has allowed “any permanent member to behave atrociously in any corner of the world without risk of punishment,” the Moscow Higher School of Economics Middle Eastern specialist says, and the members, along with the clients they support, have exploited this loophole in the international system.
“It is impermissible to sit at one and the same time on the stools of the sovereignty of the state and human rights,” Galkina continues, because by using their veto, they can “enslave neighboring peoples. If the UN cannot stop them, then there is no sense in its existence.”
“Either the world will officially return to the chaos of ‘the war of all against all,’ or the United Nations will find in itself the strength to limit the veto right.” And it is currently clear which country is most opposed to any change: Moscow has done everything it could not to allow any change that would restrict its freedom of action.
Kyiv on the other hand has been pressing for just such a change; and it now has the support of nearly a third of the UN member states. For background, see “67 Countries Now Back Limiting Russia’s Veto Powers in UN Security Council,” September 16, 2015.