As the Russian Federation launches a brutal invasion of its neighbor Ukraine, in a clearly barbaric and brutal attack against another sovereign nation – the question is, where is the United Nations, whilst this brazen violation of international peace and security unfolds?
When four months after the San Francisco Conference, and on October 24, 1945, fifty-one (51) countries signed the Charter establishing the UN (United Nations) – there was overwhelming global hope and optimism for international peace and security, and “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
This was obviously after the harrowing and traumatic experiences of the preceding WWII (Second Word War), and another grueling and savage WWI (First World War), only twenty-seven (27) years prior.
Indeed, who would not have desperately desired lasting global peace and security, after witnessing the death and destruction of such horrendous proportions – with an estimated 100 million deaths in both world wars?
And, what better way to achieve these goals than bringing together all nations of the world, into an organization that pledges to safeguard international peace and security, higher standards of living for citizens, and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights?
I am quite convinced that this would have been a reality, had there been true democracy and equality within this body of nations.
Yet, that was not to be – as there were “animals that were more equal than others” – with the victors of WWII declared themselves the “authors and finishers” of global history, through the setting up of the Security Council, with the five “victors” (namely, the USA [United States of America], UK [United Kingdom], France, Russia, and China) holding permanent seats, which wield clearly draconian and tyrannical veto powers.
Surely, just the fact that an organization, ostensibly established to create world peace and security, would be dictated to by a handful of powerful nations – more so, who themselves, were the main protagonists of previous world wars, together with Germany, Japan, and Italy – was utterly preposterous.
Furthermore, regardless of who won or lost the world wars – what logic is there in apportioning all powers, especially veto rights, to only five out of 193 full member states of the UN?
Is this not only dictatorial, but also nonsensical and unacceptable?
As a matter of fact, the urgently needed UN reforms should never be to increase the number of tyrants – through adding more permanent veto-wielding members – but, completely democratizing this body, by dismantling the Security Council, and leaving all decision making to the General Assembly, where simple majority votes carry the day.
If we are to be honest with ourselves, all the major conflicts faced throughout the world, since the establishment of the UN, were either at the behest of these Security Council veto-wielding permanent members, or measures to intervene being blocked by the same.
Who can be blamed for such wars as in Korea (1950-53), Vietnam (1961-75), Syria (since 2011), and even the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict which has been with us since 1948?
Were these Security Council permanent members not at the forefront as instigators, or brazenly abusing their veto powers by blocking any global intervention?
Today, as we watch helplessly as Russia attacks and invades its western neighbor, Ukraine, there is nothing the world body can do – except its toothless secretary general, Antonio Guterres, issuing the usually unheard and unheeded calls for peace and cessation of hostilities.
What can the UN do – when the country wantonly violating one of the major statutes of the UN Charter (respecting and safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states) is a permanent veto-wielding member?
Just yesterday (February 25, 2022), Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning its actions.
Why would that be particularly surprising when the world is run by only five countries – who also so happen to be behind most of the mayhem and conflicts we have witnessed over the past century?
Regardless the pretext and context of these conflicts – and, the most recent incursion by Russia into a sovereign state – the basic mandate of the UN Security Council is to develop friendly relations among nations, cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, as well as to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
How can any of these be accomplished, under such a distorted and lopsided power structure?
It is without a doubt that, the UN Security Council is the greatest threat to world peace and security – unless there is a paradigm shift in its power dynamics, whereby all nations are equal, and democratic majority rule always prevails in decision making?
Until then, we can expect even more brutal and heinous wars – most likely, resulting in another world war, putting paid to the notion of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com