14 July, 2008

Working as designed

An analyst of African affairs, cited by VOA, adds a note of reality to the most recent "failure to intervene" in Zimbabwe. A relevant section:

On Friday a UN Security Council draft resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe was vetoed by both China and Russia. Zimbabwe’s information minister described the resolution as a Western plot and has welcomed its rejection.

UK Ambassador to the UN said the Security Council has failed the people of Zimbabwe.

However, reacting to the veto, Herman Hanekom, independent analyst of contemporary Africa said it was Russia and China that failed.

“I don’t think the Security Council as such failed. What failed was Russia which cannot really speak of a good human rights record, then there’s China which also failed…”

This is exactly what the Security Council was designed to do. It was intended to cloak joint actions by great powers with an air of respectability, while making sure that none of those powers would be able to act with UN authority in opposition to the will of the others. (They can still act--the veto protection will keep them free from Security Council interference--but not with the legal authority granted by the UN seal of approval.)

Now, you may not like how it works, but don't complain that the Security Council isn't doing its job. This is its job.

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