Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Why A Security Council

 It's probably worth noting (in light of Ukraine's suggestion that Russia be removed from the UN Security Council due to committing war crimes) that the permanent members of the security council were chosen not by virtue of being good or responsible countries, but because they were the major allied powers coming out of World War II: the US, UK, USSR (now Russia), France, and China (then the Republic of China, now the People's Republic of China)

Indeed, the USSR at the time was run by Stalin who was well known to be a bloodthirsty dictator, whose only virtue was that he'd provided the huge resources of manpower needed to defeat Germany on the Eastern Front. (And even that had not been voluntary -- he'd been an ally of Hitler until the Nazis turned the tables and invaded Russia.)

The theory was that the most powerful countries should sit on the Security Council with the aim of avoiding another world war. 

Often, the UN is spoken of in idealistic terms, as an institution which could lead to resolving difference peacefully. But in regards to the security council, there is no idealism at all in terms of its permanent members. They were chosen because they were the nations who would most severely disrupt world peace. And arguably, they still are. Russia's ability to use its 4,500 nuclear war heads makes it a uniquely dangerous player at the world table, and that is why it has a seat on the Security Council.

This is frustrating. One would like to imagine that there is some standard of behavior on which world leadership is based. But it really is mostly just might. And that of course is at the center of the whole problem facing the world now. If Russia did not have the ability to hold the world hostage with its aging nuclear stockpile, the EU would probably not have any difficulty in totally routing Russia's army in Ukraine. It's become clear in the last six weeks that Russia's military reforms were much more an on-paper exercise than a true cultural reset. 

And yet, there are those nuclear bombs. And Russia has stated for years (even before their current loose talk about how they will nuke Warsaw should peacekeepers enter western Ukraine) that their military doctrine is to deploy nuclear weapons rather than lose a war.

It's not clear how the world is going to resolve the desire to see Russia's invasion fail while at the same time avoiding escalation to nuclear war, but to the extent that the UN is the international institution capable of resolving such issues without war, it continues to make sense to have Russia on the Security Council, no matter how bad their behavior. Their presence represents the fact that there are bad actors in the world, and that we must deal with them if we are to avoid the scourge of a wider war.

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