As far back as September 25, 2011, I wrote an article titled “The UN is Dead.” Among other things, I stated there: “The events of recent years marked by a closed unipolarity […] show an inoperative UN bending to the will of rogue states. The unanimous resolution that condemned Iran for the alleged intention to build atomic weapons contrasts their existence in countries such as Israel, India and Pakistan, which have the common characteristic of being among the largest buyers of weapons from manufacturers who are basically the permanent member countries of the Security Council.”
I continued: “The unanimous approval of the powers to authorize – through resolution 1973 – what led to the indiscriminate bombing of Libyan cities and the murder of thousands of citizens, shows an organization that is no longer a guarantor of peace but promoter of war. The same event occurred during the recent events in Ivory Coast, where the UN Secretary General himself gave orders to the Blue Helmets to become militarily involved under orders of the French armed forces that invaded the African country.”
Twelve years later, the diagnosis is the same, but the crisis is even deeper. The Covid 19 pandemic revealed to the world the inability of the organization to manage the fight against the virus that became a common enemy of humanity.
In this battle, the World Health Organization (WHO) failed miserably. In October 2021, 20 months after the pandemic began, only 57% of the world population had been vaccinated. The pandemic could never be controlled through the distribution of vaccines. The rich countries established a clear distance from the poorest ones. In January 2022, the WHO published guidance to prioritize the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines fairly but it was too late and the plan was flawed. The logic of the market, of gains and profit prevailed over the logic of the protection of human beings, their health and their lives. This is because the WHO depends mainly on the good will of rich countries and companies.
Similar circumstances occurred in the WHO’s actions during influenza A (subtype H1N1) that attacked the world in 2009. Another example of repetitive error by the WHO was its actions in 2014 during the Ebola crisis. Its disability is recurrent. In the first case, governments that followed their recommendations accumulated unnecessary quantities of antiflu drugs only for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies. And in the second, acting with extreme passivity in the face of the seriousness of the spread of Ebola, undervaluing the problem. Only when the epidemic was already out of control in West Africa did the director general declare a global emergency.
It must be said, this “good will” mentioned is directly related to the decision of companies to act when they observe that contagion can affect their profits and those of rich countries. This fact violates paragraph 3 of article 1, Chapter 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, which establishes the purposes and principles of the UN and states that the organization must: “Carry out international cooperation in the solution of international problems of economic, social, cultural or humanitarian kind, and for the development and encouragement of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction based on race, sex, language or religion.”
Likewise, the terrible work of the UN in managing the pandemic flagrantly violates Article 3 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which establishes that: “Every individual has the right to life, liberty and freedom and the security of his person.” The UN has shown that it is not capable of guaranteeing that right or even fulfilling the purposes assigned to it by the Charter.
In this context, Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the recent conflict in Palestine brought the ineffectiveness of the UN to the fore. In both cases, the organization was unable to prevent genocides from being planned and carried out on the people of Donbass and Palestine respectively. In Ukraine they turned a “blind eye” for 8 years while, with extreme cruelty, Nazi-fascist hordes exterminated the Russian-speaking population.
The Palestinian issue is much worse because the UN is the direct cause of it by illegally creating the State of Israel when it is not its power – according to the Charter – to create countries, but even after having decided on such a legal absurdity, it has not been able to comply with General Assembly resolution 181, of November 29, 1947, which established the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab State and an area under particular international regime. In this case, perhaps more than in any other, the use of the UN as an instrument of United States foreign policy has become evident. The UN has failed in its primary responsibility, which was to promote and consolidate peace on the planet.
In another area, one could wonder what sense there is in the existence of the World Trade Organization (WTO), another UN agency if, until August 2023, 26,162 unilateral coercive measures (misnamed sanctions) had been applied by the United States, the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and other countries affecting 30 States around the world. Thus, 28% of the world’s population is prevented from developing their lives in a completely normal way.
It is worth saying that in this case, the UN General Assembly in its 78th period of sessions, approved with 128 votes in favor and 54 against a resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights against unilateral coercive measures.
However, it is all in vain. International relations are not about law but about power. The UN is a structure supported by the atomic power of 5 countries that impose that condition on the world. The institution of the veto is an undemocratic practice that establishes that the world has to live under the dictatorship of 5 countries for the sole reason that they have the capacity to destroy the planet. Thus, this capacity is what establishes and sustains the international system and its structure. The planet lives under the permanent contradiction between the democratic character of the General Assembly and the dictatorial character of the Security Council.
Currently there are several cases that expose the retrograde nature of the UN in addition to those already known in Ukraine and Palestine. In this sense, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has expressed its opinion that the UN Command, responsible to monitor compliance with the armistice after the Korean War of the 1950s, must be dissolved to “prevent the start of a new war and defend peace and security on the Korean Peninsula”.
According to the statement issued by the North Korean government, the command represents “nothing more than an instrument of confrontation for the United States because it has nothing to do with the UN.” According to Pyongyang, the command “reveals its aggressive nature again, seeking to prepare a declaration of confrontation simulating the second Korean War.” Already in 1975, the UN General Assembly approved two resolutions that stipulated the dissolution of the command and the withdrawal of US troops from the region and even two former UN secretaries general, Butros Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan stated that “the organization is not under the control of the United Nations, but of Washington.” Now – according to the DPRK’s complaint – the Command “is reactivated as an instrument of plurinational war, led by the United States.” These are serious events that endanger security in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean Peninsula.” It seems evident that the UN is allowing itself to be used by the United States to generate another conflict scenario on the planet.
It could not be any other way when the Secretary General of the UN is a man from a NATO country. It must be remembered that when he was prime minister of Portugal he accompanied all the outrages of this war-mongering group, including the Balkan war and the invasion of Afghanistan. It is difficult for a character of this lineage to have the equanimity and neutrality necessary to deal with the issues that concern the organization. A just world should never have a warrior as its highest leader.
Already in the past, Europe gave us examples of the leadership that represents it. Between 1972 and 1981, Kurt Waldheim, a far-right Austrian politician, was appointed Secretary General of the UN. It did not matter that Waldheim had been a member of the German National Socialist Student League, a structure of the Nazi party in his country that led him to even join the SA, the shock troops of the Nazi party that under the direct orders of Hitler. They spread terror in the occupied countries. Nothing more and nothing less than a Nazi was sent by Europe to be Secretary General of the UN.
The actions regarding Venezuela are not unrelated to its imprint. The UN has violated the Geneva Agreement that establishes a friendly and satisfactory solution for both parties in the Essequibo conflict. The gigantic oil reserves discovered in 2015 in that claimed territory mobilized the United States government, which, by exerting pressure on the UN, managed to have the case illegally sent to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a UN body that has decided to act without having jurisdiction over the case.
Already, the previous Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki- moon, a puppet of Washington, had decided unilaterally and illegally to put an end to the figure of the good officiant. Continuing this legal aberration, Antonio Guterres – almost from the moment of his appointment – accepted the lawsuit that the United States had initiated before his predecessor, unilaterally favoring Guyana’s decision, which in reality is the decision of the ExxonMobil company, which intends illegally and unilaterally exploit the resources of Essequibo. Guterres is complicit in this attempted dispossession, in the same way as the ICJ, which, by placing itself outside the law, seeks to support Guyana’s claim.
Guterres had to consult Venezuela to obtain its agreement regarding the jurisdiction of the ICJ, as established by the Geneva Agreement. It is worth adding that Venezuela is not a signatory of the protocol on mandatory jurisdiction of the ICJ, so it is not obliged to abide by the decision made by this body. It is not Venezuela that has placed itself outside the law. It has been the United Nations organization, once again.
Perhaps no one described it with such precision as the president of Brazil: “The UN of 1945 is no longer worth anything in 2023.” He said he was horrified by the organization’s inability to stop the Israeli genocide in Palestine. As usual, The anachronistic dictatorship of the veto exercised by the United States has even prevented the armed actions in Gaza from being stopped. In this regard, Lula said: “Only one country had the right to veto and vetoed it [the proposal], and it was the United States. This is incomprehensible, it is not acceptable. That is why we fight to change the UN” and added: “That is why we want to change the number of [members] and how it works and end the right of veto.”
In this context, it was the Israeli government itself that placed itself outside international law by publicly acknowledging that it possesses nuclear weapons, which is prohibited by the UN Charter. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), another entity belonging to the UN, so active in wanting to audit and control Russia in the conflict in Ukraine, has turned its head to avoid giving an opinion on this other situation that… Once again, it calls into question the neutrality of the UN and its adherence to international law, all of which deteriorates global security, placing at serious risk the international arms control regime that the UN must sustain, defend and apply.
Washington has placed itself above the UN, endorsing all the excesses committed by Israel, a country that by the way has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its 300 thermonuclear bombs are a real danger not only for the Palestinian people but for the entire planet, when it is known that they are in the hands of these new Nazis of the 21st century, overflowing with hatred, eager to kill and lacking any sense of humanity.
The UN has failed, it has no point in existing. A new world is being born. A new organization must accompany it.