Just trash the UN Security Council - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

Just trash the UN Security Council

It was impossible not to notice the effort made to prevent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech at the 69th U.N. General Assembly in 2014 from being heard. The U.N. Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on “foreign fighters joining Daesh” was carefully moved to the hour Erdoğan was going to exclaim from the stand that more and more people around the world are becoming needy by the day, that the world is increasingly becoming an unsafe place, that the current world system itself is the fundamental reason underlying this, that the whole world cannot be dominated by the UNSC's five permanent members, that “the world is greater than five,” shifting media attention in that direction. From the “foreign fighters” proposal accepted on that day, which was described by U.S. President Barack Obama as “historic,” the fight against Daesh led to nothing other than expanding the chaos by taking the Daesh threat from Syria and Iraq and spreading it to the rest of the world – making matters worse.

The first U.N. World Humanitarian Summit was held in Turkey in May this year. According to U.N. reports, the number of people in need of help and protection is currently at 125 million – the highest level since World War II. Leaders from 60 countries attended the summit hosted by Erdoğan. The Turkish president reiterated his “The world is bigger than five” statement, which has become a slogan, and criticized the current world order, underlining that this unjust order cannot be sustained. However, the five permanent leaders of the UNSC, the U.N.'s leadership rank, chose not to participate in this summit. The five countries that have the most critical position, able to save the world from going any worse, chose to turn their backs on the first humanitarian summit.

Erdoğan spoke at the 71st U.N. General Assembly this week as a victorious leader who defeated the July 15 coup attempt, accompanied by public support never seen before by any other world leader. By repeating the statement “The world is bigger than five,” which he has been making relentlessly since 2013, he criticized once more the structure of the U.N. and said the U.N. needs to be revised. As a result of the fact that the current world order is failing, new threats, economic problems and an increased lack of security, those who used to belittle and object to Erdoğan's statements in the past are now unable to snort at this reality – however, they are unable to leave aside their pride and openly accept that the alarm bells are ringing. But they need to at least learn a lesson from history and make an analysis based on mathematical facts.

The League of Nations, which may be considered the foundation of the U.N., was founded in 1920 after World War I with the same concerns the U.N. was founded after World War II. Even though U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had defended joining this league, the suggestion did not pass the U.S. Senate for the U.S.'s interests. In time, Germany, Italy and Japan left the league, while Russia was expelled. The League of Nations failed to stop Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, Japan's invasion of Manchuria, and Germany's invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia. It could not intervene in Spain's civil war and, as a result of a chain of errors, it was unable to prevent World War II from occurring.

The League of Nations that was over in 26 years was replaced in 1945 by the United Nations. The term United Nations was first used by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was written in the declaration published by the Allied Powers fighting against the Axis Powers in 1942. As is known, even though the victor of World War II was the Allied Powers, the actual winner was the U.S. In time, just as the term Allies started to be used to refer to the U.S.'s allies, the U.N. became the executive branch of a world order over which it has authority proportional to the gains established by the victors of World War II.

Despite its mission to sustain world peace, the U.N. has not been able to achieve the functionality it has claimed since its foundation. From the very beginning, when the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the U.S., one of the UNSC's permanent five countries, started after World War II, the U.N. started to become a place where super powers shaped the world in accordance with their own interests. Hence, the U.S. was criticized many times; but despite all the conflicts of interest, the UNSC's five permanent members, the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China, preferred to turn a deaf ear in order to maintain this privileged status.

While the status quo that was formed benefited these five countries alone and the friends they wanted to protect, the U.N. did not intervene in the tens of massacres and infightings that happened from Cambodia to Rwanda, Somalia to Srebrenica. The UNSC, which has 10 temporary members elected biannually in addition to its five permanent members, is the center of global injustice and hypocrisy with the unlimited veto rights it gives its permanent members. For example, regardless of how critical the bills proposed by any of these 15 members may be, the moment the bill is vetoed by one of the permanent members, it is not accepted. The most recent example is the numerous bills proposed by France and the U.K. regarding the human right violations in Syria; however, the international community's intervention was blocked by Russia and China's vetoes. Yet, the U.S., which is refraining from intervening in the Syrian civil war because there is no U.N. decision, felt no need for this in Iraq and it was able to establish a separate coalition for the fight against Daesh. What's more is that between 1,950 to 2,000 bills were accepted in the UNSC since its foundation to date, but how many of them were enforced or how many of them reached their goal?

Today, people everywhere around the world are worried; the number of refugees and people who need help is at extraordinary levels; new threats are rising instead of decreasing. A great fire is alerting that it is fast approaching and the U.N., similar to its predecessor, the League of Nations, is helpless and inadequate in intervening in the course of events. And the real reason for this is the injustice and inequality in the U.N.'s structure. So, what are they waiting for to intervene in the structure itself?


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