Dimitris Rapidis

On 22 October 1962 US President JFK announced in a dramatic televised address to the American public that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, and in response the US were establishing a blockade around the island in order to prevent any other offensive weapons from entering Castro’s state. Fifty years later why the blockade is still running and what the UN has done?

The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned the US blockade in Cuba, reaching yesterday the 21st (!) resolution mandate in a row. With 188 votes in favor, the General Assembly once more condemned the blockade, but it seems that this decision, as well as the previous ones, have no essential and practical meaning. Here comes the old saying that once a decision is reached and implemented, there is no return.

But furthermore, the repetitive decisions against the blockade were ignored by the US, the state that after World War II was insisting on establishing the UN as the global forum that would shape global order. This ambitious initiative is consistently violated from inside, and the Security Council which functions as the head body of decision-making has been turned to a well-performed theatre scene with conflicting interests impeding crucial decisions for global stability and peace. From that perspective, it is not only that the US are consistently ignoring UN resolutions, but in the contrary all global powers, mainly including Russia and China, are using UN as an intermediate forum in order to exert and prove their power and leverage.

Therefore, the UN is more an exchanging ideas and PR forum than a global reformative multilateral body that takes significant decisions for humanity and peace. All three major violators of UN’s institutional raison d’être , i.e the US, China, and Russia, have certain and specific interests that are divided and shared properly: US wants to preserve its geopolitical dominance; China wants to permanently impede any climate regulation; Russia vies for maintaining its sphere of influence in its wider region, i.e. the Black Sea, Caucasus, and the Middle East. Ay decision taken from the Assembly that defies to the very interests of the triangle has no meaning, and therefore, no implementation.

I am thus considered on what is the real meaning of UN’s existence nowadays. And to this point of deliberation, if the UN is not a global decisional forum for politics with mandatory power, why all member-states should be concerned about UN resolutions. I regret to say, but with reference to the US blockade in Cuba, even if new resolutions will take place, which sanctionary body or state will impose and implement sanctions to the US?

Relevantly, this precedent -i.e. the fact that UN resolutions are not implemented against great powers- leads to the following conclusions: that the the UN General Assembly is an informative body that simply monitors global affairs, whereas the Security Council is the field where conflicting interests find no ground of mutuality. Accordingly, what should we expect for Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Iran for instance? Will civil wars, nuclear threats, and weaponry smuggling get affronted efficiently? And therefore, is multilateral diplomacy convincing?

Evidence shows that power politics, through the deploying of troops in unilateral or multilateral form (e.g. NATO), will still designate the way global issues can get solved. Military action is what UN wanted to prevent through its constitutional agreement in mid-1950s, but military action is what overcomes UN credibility finally.

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