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Russia Running UN Security Council? Symbol (And More) Of A Broken World Order

It sounded made for April Fool's: Russia is taking over the presidency of the UN Security Council, the highest governing body in the world. But this is all too real. It's time to rethink how the council works, Pierre Haski writes.

Photo of Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia speaks during Security Council meeting back in February 2022

Pierre Haski


PARIS — "A disgrace, an extreme absurdity, a symbolic blow to an international order based on law" — Ukrainian officials were left stunned, almost at a loss for words to describe Russia's appointment on April 1 to the presidency of the UN Security Council.

But the appointment is completely above board. Russia didn't scheme or cheat to get it: the rules of the Security Council, established in 1945, schedule a monthly rotation among the council's 15 members, and it just happened to be Russia's turn.

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Of course, Ukraine's dismay is entirely understandable, as the nation watches its invader — whose head of state is wanted on an international warrant for crimes against humanity — be appointed to lead the body that aims to build global peace.

To prevent Russia from presiding over the Security Council, the country would have had to choose not to take the presidency; even if the remaining Security Council members voted to exclude Russia, the country has the same right as any other permanent member to veto votes, and would never have allowed such a resolution to pass.

Two notes: first, although presidency gives Russia some influence over the Security Council's agenda, it will have little practical impact. On the other hand, Moscow does derive some sense of legitimacy, which may serve the country in future diplomacy.

Of another era

The second lesson: the United Nations is no longer an instrument suited to our era.

The rules of the UN were established after the Second World War, aiming to improve on the impotence of its predecessor, the League of Nations. The UN gained additional powers, but the war's victorious powers, which included the Soviet Union, also wanted to protect their interests.

The right of veto, reserved for the five permanent members — China, the U.S., France, the UK and Russia — represented a safeguard clause for the powers at the time. But it proved poisonous during the Cold War, first with the Soviet Union and continuing since then as the relationship between Russia and other Security Council members has deteriorated.

Today, the UN is politically paralyzed, in a state of brain death. Only its specialized agencies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency or the World Food Programme, are currently playing a role in Ukraine.

So, just like in 1945, it is now time to rethink the post-war organization of the world, which should not allow an aggressor country to organize debates on peace. This won't be an easy compromise to make, as it is likely that neither Moscow, Beijing nor Washington will agree to give up powers to an institution that could turn around and impose something on them.

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The Trudeau-Modi Row Reveals Growing Right-Wing Bent Of India's Diaspora

Western governments will not be oblivious to the growing right-wing activism among the diaspora and the efforts of the BJP and Narendra Modi's government to harness that energy for political support and stave off criticism of India.

The Trudeau-Modi Row Reveals Growing Right-Wing Bent Of India's Diaspora

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Sept. 9

Sushil Aaron


NEW DELHICanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brought Narendra Modi’s exuberant post-G20 atmospherics to a halt by alleging in parliament that agents of the Indian government were involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national, in June this year.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said. The Canadian foreign ministry subsequently expelled an Indian diplomat, who was identified as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, in Canada. [On Thursday, India retaliated through its visa processing center in Canada, which suspended services until further notice over “operational reasons.”]

Trudeau’s announcement was immediately picked up by the international media and generated quite a ripple across social media. This is big because the Canadians have accused the Indian government – not any private vigilante group or organisation – of murder in a foreign land.

Trudeau and Canadian state services seem to have taken this as seriously as the UK did when the Russian émigré Alexander Litvinenko was killed, allegedly on orders of the Kremlin. It is extraordinarily rare for a Western democracy to expel a diplomat from another democracy on these grounds.

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