United helplessness: Why international organizations do not work

The feeble reaction of the UN and other international organizations to the blowing up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant by Russian troops has caused a new wave of outrage and disappointment among Ukrainians. Government representatives also did not hide their dissatisfaction with the indifference of the global community towards the new act of aggression by the country. However, the helplessness and inefficiency of international structures, tasked with protecting peace and justice in the world, are nothing new.

See also: Blowing up the Kakhovka Dam: Russia’s announced crime

The First World War of 1914-1918 made a deep impression on contemporaries in terms of the scale of hostilities, the number of deaths, and the destruction caused. The emergence of new deadly types of weapons and their practical application led to numerous human casualties. Western politicians of that time wanted to prevent another major war from becoming a reality in the future. For this purpose, the international organization League of Nations was created.

The League of Nations and its goals

The founders of the League of Nations set noble goals before it. The organization was intended to ensure peace on the planet and peaceful resolution of conflicts between countries. It also aimed to advocate for disarmament, collective security, and improving the quality of life on Earth. Initially, the activities of this structure were relatively successful. The League of Nations became a platform where diplomats from different countries around the world met and held negotiations. States from different continents were admitted to its ranks. Even countries that were not part of the League of Nations showed interest in its work. The international organization also managed to resolve several territorial disputes in different parts of the world. However, its effectiveness was exhausted there. When major world powers entered the game and set out to change their neighbors’ borders through military means, the League of Nations was unable to oppose them. The institution formed with the aim of preventing a new world war was destroyed by that very war.

Serious alarm bells began to ring as early as the 1930s. In 1931, the Japanese Empire, a member of the League of Nations and a permanent participant in the League Council, started its conquest of Manchuria. Attempts to put an end to the aggression failed. Economic sanctions against Japan and the formation of an international military coalition under the auspices of the League also proved unsuccessful. In 1933, official Tokyo announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations. That same year, Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, also left the League. The Nazis even put the question of leaving the League of Nations to a referendum, in which over 90% of Germans voted in favor.

Global tension was escalating. All efforts by the League of Nations to prevent a new war were in vain. This structure was unable to impose effective sanctions against Italy, which invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The League failed to stop the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939. Storm clouds of a new major conflict were gathering over Europe. And all of this happened while the institution that was specifically created to prevent new wars was utterly helpless. The selfishness of individual League members, the self-removal of the United States, which never ratified the Treaty of Versailles with Germany or the Covenant of the League of Nations included in it, made a crushing impression.

The Soviet Union’s short-lived membership in the League of Nations

Against this backdrop, in 1934, the Soviet Union became a member of the League of Nations. An invitation to the totalitarian communist state to join the international organization was extended by 30 member countries, with France being the initiator. The Soviet Union was also elected to the League’s Permanent Council. As we can see, the recent genocide of the Ukrainian nation through the Holodomor (famine) and its openly antidemocratic and aggressive nature did not hinder the acceptance of the Soviet communist empire into the League of Nations. However, the Soviet Union’s presence in the League was short-lived. In December 1939, after the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland and the mass bombing of Finnish cities, the global public began demanding the exclusion of the USSR from the League. The Soviet government came up with various absurd justifications. It even reached the point where People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov stated that the USSR was not at war with Finland but that the Finnish government, which had already lost its legitimacy, ignited the war. However, Moscow’s lies were not taken seriously by anyone.

See also: Devil’s advocates: how international mediators act for peaceful resolution of the war in the Kremlin’s interests

On December 14, a session of the League of Nations Assembly was convened. Upon Argentina’s initiative, the agenda included the issue of excluding the Soviet Union. The basis for this was the aggression against Finland. Out of the 40 member states of the League of Nations, 28 voted in favor of the Assembly’s resolution. The League of Nations Council was informed of the adopted resolution by the Assembly and passed a resolution to exclude the Soviet Union. The Kremlin didn’t seem particularly concerned. It confidently embarked on the path of war and a new division of the world. On the contrary, in Moscow, it was noted that they now had “free hands” and were no longer bound by the League of Nations.

The inability of international organizations to prevent aggression and ensure accountability

As we can see, the predecessor of the UN, the League of Nations, failed to stop the Second World War. The decision to exclude the Soviet Union was essentially the final decision of the League. By that time, the world had already entered a new major war. Poland had been occupied by the Third Reich. The activities of the League came to a definitive halt, and it was dissolved in 1946. However, the League of Nations does differ in some aspects from the modern UN. At least aggressors were excluded from the international structure back then. Or they voluntarily withdrew, as Japan, Germany, and Italy did. The current UN is not even capable of such action. This is due to specific legal norms. The UN Charter does not provide for the possibility of depriving a country of its permanent membership in the UN Security Council. The consent of two-thirds of the members of the UN General Assembly and unanimous approval by the Security Council are required to exclude a country from the UN. Therefore, if an aggressor is a member of the Security Council, it is guaranteed to be immune from exclusion from the UN.

However, it may sound cynical but the aggressors of the past were more honest with the world and themselves. Japan, Germany, and Italy embarked on the path of a new war but did not use the platform of the League to regularly proclaim deceitful statements about their dedication to the cause of peace and accuse their victims. They chose their own path and pursued it, sensing the weakness and disunity of the global community. On the other hand, Russia does not want to withdraw from the UN. It fully leverages its influence in international organizations to spread lies and falsehoods, completely distorting facts, portraying itself as a victim of NATO’s aggressive behavior, and weaving nonsense about Ukrainian biolabs and nuclear weapons. And even to file a statement against Kyiv with the International Court of Justice at the UN for its alleged “blowing up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.” The aggressor and international criminal have a legally protected privileged opportunity to lie to the world and evade accountability. And the UN simply cannot do anything about it. It has turned into a platform for the aggressor, broadcasting its messages and using international world organizations for its own purposes.

See also: Words and actions of Rafael Grossi. Whom does the Director General of the IAEA serve?

The inability of international organizations to prevent aggression or hold aggressors accountable should not come as a surprise or shock. It is evident that structures like the UN or the League of Nations can contribute to addressing certain global issues but on a much lower level and smaller scale. However, they are almost incapable of dealing with the desire of a totalitarian regime to ignite the flames of war or reshape national borders on the political map of the world. If the world were to be plunged into a new global war, the UN would prove to be just as paralyzed as the League of Nations. One must primarily rely on oneself or on membership in military-political blocs like NATO in this world full of dangers and confrontations.

Originally posted on Zaxid.net. Translated and edited by the UaPosition – Ukrainian news and analytics website

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