tirsdag 19. desember 2017

Palestine wakes the sleeping giant that is the UN General Assembly 

 

- By Adam Garrie


Palestine wakes the sleeping giant that is the UN General Assembly

A Russia Truth exclusive article by Adam Garrie 19th December 2017




For decades, discussions about reforming the United Nations have often been more amplified than debates about world peace, poverty alleviation and disease control, which ought to be the primary topics of debate at such a body. 

That being said, it is not difficult to see why so many countries are exasperated with the UN. The UN continues to be dominated by the United States and its allies who sit as permanent members on the Security Council. 

Until 1971, the Security Council was little more than a consummately deadlocked chamber where four countries typically lined up against the lone Soviet Union among the five permeant members who wield veto power. 

This was due to the farcical situation of Chinese Taipei (aka the Republic of China/Taiwan) holding the Chinese seat at the UN, even after the People’s Republic of China became the authentic Chinese state in 1949. 

Today’s typically 3 against 1 deadlocked Security Council is at least slightly more representative than it was in the 1950s and 1960s, when the PRC had no seat at the UN, but as yesterday’s Security Council vote on Al-Quds demonstrates, all it takes is one US veto to effectively shatter the democratic legitimacy of the UNSC. 

Yesterday, the entire Security Council voted to affirm the lack of legitimacy behind Washington’s move to recognise Al-Quds as the Israeli capital. The only problem is that the US invoked its veto power, thus negating the democratic will of the rest of the Security Council.
Subsequent to the US vote, Palestinian Presidential advisor Nabil Abu Rdeneh, slammed the US veto a “provocation”. 

 Palestine has called for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly to vote on the same matter. There, the motion rendering Trump’s decision illegitimate will likely pass in a landslide vote.

The events of the past few days make a strong case for Libyan Revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi’s argument for total UN reform which would see the General Assembly becoming the highest constituent element of the UN, thus incorporating the current functions of the Security Council, while the UNSC would simply exist as an executive body which would automatically ratify decisions made by a democratic vote in the General Assembly.
Gaddafi spoke before the General Assembly in 2009 and proposed the following reform measure,

“This Assembly is our democratic forum and the Security Council should be responsible before it; we should not accept the current situation. These are the legislators of the Members of the United Nations, and their resolutions should be binding. It is said that the General Assembly should do whatever the Security Council recommends. On the contrary, the Security Council should do whatever the General Assembly decides. This is the United Nations, the Assembly that includes 192 countries. It is not the Security Council, which includes only 15 of the Member States. How can we be happy about global peace and security if the whole world is controlled by only five countries?
 
We are 192 nations and countries, and we are like Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. We just speak and nobody implements our decisions. We are mere decoration, without any real substance. We are Speakers’ Corner, no more, no less. We just make speeches and then disappear. This is who you are right now. 
Once the Security Council becomes only an executive body for resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, there will be no competition for membership of the Council. 
 
Once the Security Council becomes a tool to implement General Assembly resolutions, there will be no need for any competition. 
The Security Council should, quite simply, represent all nations. 
In accordance with the proposal submitted to the General Assembly, there would be permanent seats on the Security Council for all unions and groups of countries. 
The 27 countries of the European Union should have a permanent seat on the Security Council. 
The countries of the African Union should have a permanent seat on the Security Council. 
The Latin American and ASEAN countries should have permanent seats. 
The Russian Federation and the United States of America are already permanent members of the Security Council. 
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), once it is fully established, should have a permanent seat. 
The 22 countries of the Arab League should have a permanent seat. 
The 57 countries of the Islamic Conference should have a permanent seat. 
The 118 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement should have a permanent seat. 
Then there is the G-100; perhaps the small countries should also have a permanent seat. 
Countries not included in the unions that I have mentioned could perhaps be assigned a permanent seat, to be occupied by them in rotation every six or twelve months”.

If Gaddafi’s plan was implemented, there is no doubt that yesterday’s Security Council motion would have been passed overwhelmingly. Even among traditional US allies, it received votes of support. 

The reason that the UN is in the stronghold of the United States, is because the structure of the Security Council allows certain nations to hold all others at ransom. The fact that the UN is on US soil, is another reason for this unfair advantage. Gaddafi likewise proposed moving the UN to a more globally central and political neutral location. 

Ultimately, the current structure of the Security Council has rendered the UN undemocratic while Gaddafi’s proposals would instantly made the UN a fully democratic body. 

One of the biggest worries in such a situation, is that Russia and China, who typically vote against the US and its allies, would lose their veto power. While fears about surrendering an important privilege which is typically used to prevent aggressive and provocative US drafted resolutions from gaining ascension, is a real fear, it negates something far more important. 

The majority of the world is more sympathetic to the Russian and Chinese positions than that of the United States and its increasingly few allies. Africa, almost all of Asia, southern and parts of Eastern Europe as well as most of Latin America have only suffered due to the neo-imperial tactics of aggressive war profiteering that the US attempts to legitimise with a UN rubber stamp. 

In this sense Palestine has awoken the world to the real potential of the UN which is enshrined in the preamble of the UN Charter but which is systematically absent in the mechanics and procedural rules of the UN’s day-to-day operation. 

While many deride the UN for not being able to back up its pronouncements with actions, this is a view that tends to underestimate the power of a truly global-democratic quorum of nations speaking in a singular voice. 

On the issue of Palestine, the United States has drawn a line between Washington and Tel Aviv on one side and virtually the entire world on the other. 

It was for just such moments that an unbound General Assembly could demonstrate that no matter how wealthy, violent or powerful any nation is, one can still be isolated, rejected and condemned. 

When the General Assembly inevitably votes in favour of justice for Palestine, it will be wise to remember the sage proposals of Gaddafi who understood the power of actual democracy, far more than the imperialists who so frequently preach it in order to cover the trail of blood and tears they have created throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East  and Latin America.