One can still remember the days when the power of the UN Security Council was unparalleled, while rapidly expanding its power well beyond the limits of the UN Charter through the use of a number of international law loopholes. The UN Security Council addopted the decision on the establishment of internationaltribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, while taking under its control the entire territories of Kosovo and East Timor. Some of the decisions addopted by the Security Council were so different from the traditional resolutions that some started arguing that it might be in possession of some law making attributes.
However, quite a number of political figures didn’t find those activities of the UN Security Council helpful or pleasing, especially in the West. Among them one can most certainly find the sitting US president, Donald Trump who has recently described it as a club where people gather, talk and have a good time.
This resulted in the UN Security Council being transformed from a forum where most pressing matters are being discussed by the leading powers in a bid to provide a prompt crisis resolution, into a site of information warfare, where unfounded accusations are being sound against certain states that have angered Washington by one step or another. This gives way for double standards being introduced in the geopolitical agenda of the world on the weekly basis.
As a result, lately the UN Security Council there has been regularly subjected to harsh criticism, in spite of the fact that it remains the main body of the United Nations. As its authority crumbles, the legitimacy of the resolutions adopted by its members comes under excessive scrutiny. As a result, crises and armed conflicts are being dragged on for years, which allows American military contractors to saw super-profits without any formal interference. The aggressive posture of Washington in the Middle East, which have resulted in a massive death toll keeps Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries trampled. Yet, instead of providing the necessary assistance for the destroyed cities to be rebuilt, thus providing the much need relief to the civil population of the above mentioned states, the United States and its allies chose to unleash information wars against Iran, Russia, China and a number of other states that disagree with Washington’s policies from the international tribune of the United Nations. In the meantime, civilian body count keeps rising drastically.
Out of the 4.4 billion dollars that the United Nations needed to assist Africa in fighting hunger it has received no more than 10%. Some states are now refusing to pay membership fees to the United Nations, while the US wants to cut down the funds it allocates to the UN.
For instance, last June the US Congress introduced a bill on the need to decrease the amount of funds allocated to the UN by Washington. According to the authors behind this initiative, the UN is a “corrupt and incompetent” organization. At the same time, the draft proposed that America takes a number of steps to establish harsh financial control over UN, in particular, in a bid to establish where the allocated funds were and how they allowed the US to promote its interests. Thus, the Trump administration tries to make a pocket organization out of the once internationally controlled institution.
Under Trump Washington and its closest allies adopted Russophobia as their modus operandi, choosing to voice groundless accusations within the walls of the UN against Moscow, instead of cooperating with it in a bid to improve the situation that the world has found itself in. Against this backdrop, violations of internationally established norms and agreements started to occur increasingly more often. Unscrupulous diplomatic provocations have recently become an instrument of choice for Washington, since they allow it to shape the public opinion in the West. However, when accusations are deprived of any evidence, they undermine the very core of international law, which has been the sole effective mechanism of conflict prevent for decades.
This short-sighted approach has recently acquired catastrophic proportions, especially against the backdrop of reports about repeated violations of specific resolutions of the UN Security Council by Western countries themselves.
One can recall that in December 2017, the UN Security Council would strengthen the sanctions regime against North Korea in response to its continuous ballistic missiles tests, while putting a particular emphasis on the prohibition of labor export from the DPRK. However, even with this decision came in effect, Washington and a number of European capitals were deliberately hiding the fact that a number of NATO states were non-compliant with the terms of this resolutions against the DPRK, while simultaneously unleashing accusations against China and Russia on allegations that their actions were violating the adopted standard of behavoir. In particular, the US Secretary of State would go as far as to announce that China was supplying oil to North Korea, while Russia was allegedly using North Korean labor force.
However, as it was revealed through an investigation of the Danish state-owned TV and radio company Danmarks Radio, in September 2017 it was discovered Polish shipbuilders that were building Lauge Koch patrol ship for the the Danish navy would employ more than 400 workers from North Korea. The Danes were taken aback by the fact that the Polish Christ S.S. Shipyard would allowe North Korean company Rungrado to hire employeers for the project.
According to the conclusion of the group of experts of the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 to monitor compliance with the sanctions regime against North Korea, these circumstances are regarded as a clear violation of Article 9 of the UN Security Council Resolution 1874 on the introduction of a full arms embargo against the DPRK. According to the Committee, North Korean workers were found at yet another Polish shipyard Nauta SA, which, together with Christ S.S., has been certified by NATO to fulfill a large volume of orders for the construction and repair of naval military vessels of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany.
Copenhagen has every reason to suspect that the funds allocated to Poland on the fulfillment of its military contracts, which are reaching 100 million US dollars, could be used to finance the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
This fact is not just undermining the authority of the UN Security Council, but consititutes a direct threat to international security as this international body is tasked with upholding it.
The Polish authorities are now trying to pretend that they were building a civilian ship for the Royal Danish Navy, making every step to avert a massive political scandal in the run-up to the non-permanent membership of Poland in the UN Security Council in 2018-2019. At the same time, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz announced in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (RAP) in New York, that its involvement in global challenges, espcecially in the situation around the DPRK, will be among top priorities of Poland’s membership in the UN Security Council. Speaking about the permanent members of the UN Security Council, he announced that they would pursue their own interests on the intrantional stage, while enjoying the privilege of the right of veto. Yet, he continued, in spite of its much smaller potential, Poland would have a much more global ambition. Moreover, he supported the idea of his predecessor, suggested using the Polish Embassy in Pyongyang as “a convenient channel for establishing a dialogue between the EU and the DPRK”.
In these conditions, no doubt, the UN Security Council and the European Union should have thought about the possible reputational losses that may occure should this idea be implemented in practice, against the backrdop of the above listed facts. And Warsaw should not forget that “global ambitions” can only go hand in hand with one’s respect to the international law.
Vladimir Odintsov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.