Lingamfelter: Time For a New World Order

Where is the United Nations (UN)?

For the first time in recent history, certainly since 1945, a major war has erupted on the European continent. In the wake of Victory in Europe (V-E Day) on May 8th, 1945, and Victory in Japan (V-J Day) the following August 15th, the world powers on the winning side formed the UN, an organization designed to prevent future wars, something its predecessor, the post-World War I League of Nations failed to do. The latter’s harsh terms on Germany sowed the seeds for the rise of Nazi Germany which solely began World War II. A month before that war ended, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and drafted the UN Charter. Two months later, they adopted it and by 24 October 1945, the UN began operations.

Since then, the UN’s record has not been very effective in abating war. In more cases than not, it has been a righteous observer, occasionally sallying forth with UN Peacekeeping efforts involving international forces as unarmed peacekeepers or armed peace enforcers. This was particularly the case in the Middle East where the UN initiated its first major peacekeeping effort with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) based in Jerusalem to supervise the on-again, off-again truces that punctuated wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1978, 1982, and 2006. Do you get the picture?

I did in 1981-82 when I was part of UNTSO as a young U.S. Army Captain seconded as a peacekeeper to Syria and later in Jerusalem and southern Lebanon with other international observers, including 36 American military officers. I actually just finished writing a book on my time in this organization. It examines whether U.S. participation in Middle East peacekeeping was for better or worse. Did we matter? You’ll need to read the book when it comes out later this year, but I digress.

Fast forward to Russia’s unjustified and naked aggression in Ukraine. Where is the UN in dealing with this war?  Frankly, it is in no better a place than it was when the Big Five permanent Security Council members—Britain, China, France, Russia, and America—were given a veto over any resolution the UN Security Council would consider. The veto option available to the Big Five almost serves as a built-in checkmate on any UN action that would address the naked aggression of any of the Big Five nations. Curiously, in June 1950, when the UN authorized an intervention to stop North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, it passed only because Communist China was then represented by the free Republic of China (Taiwan) and Russia, then the Soviet Union, was boycotting any consideration of the matter. Today China is a dictatorship and is actively supporting another totalitarian state, Russia, which has invaded a free country. Is it any wonder that the UN Security Council today cannot get a vote demanding Russia’s withdrawal when two totalitarian governments have a veto? Indeed, on 25 February, Russia vetoed such a resolution.

In the case of the war in Ukraine and the slaughter of its civilian population, the UN is not simply a paper tiger, but a voiceless one. No one gives a tinker’s damn what the UN says. Why? Because in the years since it was first formed to deter war, it has been feckless in doing so. To be sure, the U.S.-Russian superpower face-off during the Cold War stymied what the UN might have achieved in encouraging peace if it had had cooperation from the superpowers. But that was when the superpowers were playing a zero-sum game, each vetoing the other when it suited their national interests.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 changed that and offered a chance that a new world order would emerge in the wake of the American-inspired international coalition that intervened and repulsed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Russia stood by helplessly watching that coalition destroy its surrogates in Iraq.

But after the dreadful terror attack on the U.S. on 9-11-2001, the world order was jolted again and two long and poorly orchestrated wars against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq erupted and dragged on. Again, the UN was a bystander, occasionally intoning their opposition to terror, but not sanctioning countries who sponsored such behaviors.

So, where is the UN on the Ukrainian war? It certainly is not doing what needs to be done to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine. Indeed, it hardly has anything to say about the undisguised war crimes that occur in Ukraine every day.

Now, the American President says we’re in a new world order. Nope, but we’re presiding over its destruction and the UN is a passive observer. When it comes to world order, we don’t need a feckless UN that condones totalitarian vetoes.

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