UNGA70: What role should UN play in global affairs?


Why are military campaigns against countries started without UN approval? Is the UN unable to handle international crises? How should the organization be reformed? RT talked to experts as the 70th session of the UN General Assembly is held in New York.

 ‘Member states have destroyed UN’

The UN has a fantastic charter that humanity needs, but member states have destroyed it by not adhering to rules and laws made by the UN: they say one thing and do another, Jan Oberg, head of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research said in an interview.

“We can forget about older UN reforms and the sustainability goals that have just been accepted for 2030 if we, that are the government leaders, do not address the wild misuse of resources for militarism, for warfare and for nuclear weapons. There is no way in which we can create that better world and fulfill all these goals if we continue to squander resources the way governments do today – not ‘the peoples’ but ‘the governments’. And the UN for all it does has a budget of about $30 billion whereas all the member states together spend $1,700 billion. And if you take Syria which I think will be a very high priority issue, we are now seeing how this huge non-violent movement coming into Europe in the shape of refugees. There must be somebody who begins intelligently enough to make the link between the warfare and human suffering, lack of development, hatred and terrorism.”

Commenting on the Russian President’s participation in the General Assembly meeting amid ongoing tension between Russia and the West and the reception he might get, Oberg said that Putin is “quite popular around the world”.

“He is just not liked by NATO countries, and NATO countries are a small fraction of the world countries, only 28 of them. That’s a first thing,” he said. “The second thing, it is not what happens on the floor and the podium. The most important thing about this gathering is, of course, that people meet face to face and have a chance to talk with each other. That’s not something that happens with the world’s cameras running. Secondly, I think it is very important to say we should not exaggerate the importance of this meeting. This is not ‘we the peoples’, this is ‘we the governments’. And we should talk about the UN reform, and reform is what the member states decide to do.”

Oberg also explained why, in his view, the UN is considered “to be a very weak organization.”

“That is not because it is a bad organization – it has a fantastic charter that humanity needs, it is because member states have destroyed the UN and do not adhere to the laws, the rules and the decisions made by the UN. They say one thing when they stand or sit there and they do another thing when they go home. That is the UN crisis. And the UN crisis is in every of the bigger countries who ignore the UN,” he said.

‘Any action without UN approval illegitimate’

Many problems plaguing different parts of the world today, including the migrant crisis in Europe, are partially caused by unauthorized military actions by certain states, Victor Gao, Director of the China National Association of International Studies told RT.

Q: Why are military interventions being launched without approval of the world’s main international body?

Victor Gao: I would say, in the world today the center of the global order is still the UN and its Security Council. So any military action without the blessing and the approval of the UN Security Council should not be conducted. If it is conducted, it should be considered either not very legitimate or legal, or even with other consequences. Therefore, at the time when we celebrate the 70th year anniversary of the founding of UN, all the countries in the world need to, rededicate and recommit themselves to the spirit and the letters of the UN, and avoid using any military means to intervene in other countries’ internal affairs without the blessing and the decision of the UN Security Council. This is a must, and any action without UN Security Council approval should be considered illegitimate.

Q: Why don’t we see more change happening within the UN then?

VG: In the world today there are certain countries, who believe that they may be above the UN Security framework or the framework of the UN at large. And they take delight  in taking actions unilaterally or within certain groups against other countries, or other groups of countries by by-passing the UN; or once they get an approval from the UN Security Council they also tend to push the edge of the envelope into areas where the approval doesn’t apply to. This is a dangerous sign.

If you look at many huge problems plaguing many parts of the world including the refugee problem in Europe – this is partially because of the unauthorized military actions by certain countries in the world, either without the approval itself or by stretching the area of the approval of the UN. All these dangerous signs in the world today should serve as alarms to the international community and the conclusion that we as mankind need to reach should be that we need strictly abide by the letter and by the spirit of the UN..    


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