The Ukraine Question That No One Is Asking – Is the U.N. Obsolete?


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With all of the news coverage of the Ukraine – have you noticed what’s missing? When is the last time you heard the United Nations mentioned?

The purpose of the United Nations, is, as stated in the Preamble to its Charter:

  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is clearly a direct violation of these principles. 

In response to the crisis, the U.N. Security Council held two late-night emergency session on February 21st and February 23rd to consider a resolution sponsored the U.S. and Albania calling Russia out for 

violation of Article 2, paragraph 4 of the Charter of the United Nations — an obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. The draft would also have the Council decide that the Russian Federation should immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine, and withdraw all its military forces immediately, completely, and unconditionally from that country’s territory. Similarly, the draft would have the Council deplore the Russian Federation’s 21 February decision related to the status of certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions and decide that Moscow must immediately and unconditionally reverse that decision as it violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Russia vetoed the resolution, and China, India and The U.A.E. abstained; thus resulting in an Emergency Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly for only the eleventh time in history. On March 2nd the General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Previous Emergency Special Sessions occurred in:

  • 1997, related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 
  • 1982, the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights,
  • 1981, the South African occupation of Namibia,
  • 1980, Arab – Israeli conflict,
  • 1980, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,
  • 1967, the Arab – Israeli Six-day War,
  • 1960, Congo Crisis,
  • 1958, Lebanon crisis,
  • 1956, Soviet Invasion of Hungary,
  • 1956, the Suez Crisis.

This is Russia’s third strike. Russia has not lived up to its obligations as a member of the U.N. Clearly, U.N. resolutions condemning Russia’s behavior have no effect. 

The U.S. should not participate in, or support, an organization that fails to live up to its own stated ideals. Russia’s presence on the Security Council gives veto power to its biggest offender, allowing it to block the U.N. from pursuing its purpose. The U.S. should demand that Russia resign from the U.N. Security Council. If Russia refuses to resign the U.S. should withdraw from the U.N.