How Can the United Nations Overcome Russia's Veto in the Ukraine War? [SwanoDown Op-Ed]

Written by Shiv R. Jhawar

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine without provocation. The United Nations (UN) considers this invasion to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Ukraine desperately needs a ceasefire, Russian troop withdrawal, and civilian safety. A UN-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine is urgently required, not one enforced by the United States or NATO.

Throughout history, many ill-informed politicians have pushed people and nations into war. Every war is an act of terror — thousands of people are killed, thousands of women become widows, and thousands of children become orphans. It’s heartbreaking when a human being dies, whether Ukrainian or Russian. A soldier is first and foremost a human being. A civilized humanity will not destroy life in any form. Only meditation can civilize humanity by releasing creativity and removing destructiveness.

Russia violated the Budapest Treaty

The Russian invasion of Ukraine breached the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which guaranteed Ukraine's sovereignty and independence. Ukraine gave up around 1,900 nuclear weapons to make sure that Russia would defend it against future invasions. Now Russia is the invader. Russia's Putin first broke the Budapest Memorandum in 2014 by annexing Crimea. Refer to the article, "To stop Putin, the Western world must revisit the 1994 Budapest Memorandum" by Oleksii Reznikov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories.

How has the UN Security Council failed?

The UN was founded in 1945 to prevent wars, carry out peacekeeping missions, and foster dialogue between nations. The UN protects national sovereignty and prohibits the use of force between nations. Russia's invasion of Ukraine was illegal under the United Nations Charter.

On February 25, 2022, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that urged Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine and withdraw its troops.

On March 2, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly passed the historic "Uniting for Peace" resolution, urging Russia to “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw” from Ukraine. But the General Assembly lacks the UN Security Council's legal authority.

On March 16, 2022, the U.N.’s international court of justice, also known as the World Court, ordered Russia to immediately cease military operations in Ukraine. Russia has now violated international law by refusing to obey the order of the International Court of Justice.

A resolution of the U.N. Security Council requires at least nine positive votes, with no veto from any of the five permanent members of the council. Only the five permanent members (the P5) of the U.N. Security Council — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States — have the power to veto. Is the right to veto democratic? In a democracy, each member is treated equally.

The U.N. Security Council has been powerless to take any action because Russia, as one of the Security Council's five permanent members, can veto any resolution, even one relating to its own aggression.

The United Nations has proved to be as ineffective as its predecessor, the League of Nations, in preventing the war in Ukraine. According to this author’s book, Building a Noble World, “While our world is certainly better than before, the United Nations is yet to be capable of replacing ‘Might is right’ with ‘Right is might.’”

Overcoming Russia's veto

The best way for Ukraine to defend itself against Russia's invasion without triggering a third World War is for the United Nations to evolve into a democratic world government devoid of veto power. Yogananda Paramahansa (1893 - 1952), one of the greatest spiritual masters of India, declared: “Wars are bound to go on until the United States of Europe and the United States of Asia are evolved, to prepare the way for the United States of the World, with God guiding all nations.

Russia succeeded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)’s seat, including its permanent membership on the UN Security Council in 1991. The UN Charter's lack of a succession clause raises the succession's technical validity. The Soviet Union's status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council legally ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The United Nations Charter designated the USSR as the Security Council's permanent member, not Russia. Russia and the USSR. are not the same country.

Since 1945, the UN has nearly quadrupled in size. The UNSC has not undergone a major overhaul since 1965, when it was enlarged from 11 to 15 members (5 permanent, 10 non-permanent). The following three recommendations are offered to strengthen the Security Council:

  1. A resolution can be vetoed democratically by a majority of three of the UN Security Council's five permanent members, rather than a single permanent member.
  2. The UN has grown from 51 members in 1945 to 193 members now. South America, Africa, and Australia do not have permanent representation on the Security Council. The UN Security Council should be more representative. To achieve global representation, regional organizations like the 27-member European Union should replace individual permanent members of the UN Security Council.
  3. On December 26, 1991, the USSR collapsed, and 15 new countries emerged. Ukraine should propose that Russia's seat be given to a deemed regional union of the former Soviet Union's 15 successor states.

Secure and destroy all nuclear weapons

To avoid future nuclear blackmail and warfare, each nuclear-armed country must surrender its weapons to the proposed world government.

Every time Russia’s president Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons, the rest of the world backs down in response. Evil forces win only when good people remain silent. Therefore, the whole world should come together now to prevent atomic wars in the future. Yogananda Paramahansa stated: “To conquer all social and political evils, we must use the most formidable spiritual weapon, namely, ‘resistance by love.’ War breeds war, and it can be prevented only by non-cooperation and the overcoming power of love.”

Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born American physicist who was instrumental in creating the atom bomb, signed the famous “Russell-Einstein Manifesto” before he died on April 18, 1955. The Russell-Einstein Manifesto was issued on July 9, 1955, in London. The manifesto concluded: “There lies before us, if we choose, continued progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.”

The sooner people realize that the earth is one homeland and that there is only one race — the human race — the better off humanity will be. Humanism, not nationalism or militarism, is the only path to peace and prosperity.

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