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Veto Russia’s UN veto

Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, in a televised ceremony honoring young geographers, Vladimir Putin quizzed a boy about where Russia’s borders end. “At the Bering Strait with the United States,” the 9-year-old ventured hesitantly. “The borders of Russia,” Putin declared, “never end.” (Thunderous applause.) “It was a joke,” Putin then added.
Russia’s border is longer than the circumference of the earth. The faux “federation” occupies fully one-third of Asia. Only one of its sub-regions is larger than France, Spain, Japan, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, Sweden and North Korea, combined. And the European part is larger than Turkey and India, also combined — 40 percent of continental Europe.Russia needs Lebensraum? Its invasion of Ukraine is not just a crime of aggression, an illegal war that subsumes war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It’s explicitly and proudly a war of extinction against a founding member of the United Nations. The country whose independence helped “make America great again” by winning the Cold War is now a death pit. Add the resulting global food, energy, refugee, financial and economic disaster for all.
The UN was founded to prevent the invasion and ensuing synthesis of horrors, its Security Council having “the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” But abject Western fealty to the veto of a terrorist state interring the “rules-based international order” continues.
Using the UN’s credentials procedure is one way to dispose of Russia’s vote. It was used previously — effectively — to kick out Taiwan and South Africa. Since it’s a “procedural matter,” under the UN Charter, Russia’s purported veto right wouldn’t come into play.
Or, expel Russia by vote of the General Assembly. The long-held interpretation of the relevant Article 6 has been that this cannot be done without the Security Council first recommending expulsion, which means a Russian veto. But there is an argument that that is not necessary. Regardless, even if such recommendation is required, a Russia veto would not be determinative since the UN Charter sidelines a party (Russia) to a dispute.
But contortions around Russia’s veto power necessarily concedes the very legitimacy of its membership. Ukraine’s position avoids the calisthenics and gets to the very core of it all. The League of Nations kicked out the Soviet Union after its invasion of Finland, even though the USSR was a member. But Russia is not a UN member. It never should have been one in the first place. It’s not a question of overriding its veto; non-members don’t get a veto.
Admitting a new member to the UN requires a decision by the General Assembly. There was no such decision. Article 23 lists the Permanent Members of the Security Council. Russia is not mentioned; the USSR is but it hasn’t existed since December 1991. Consider that the General Assembly voted to recognize the communist regime in Beijing (not the government in Taiwan) as the “legitimate” government of “China.” If there’s a vote to determine which government rules, certainly there must be a vote if a country (Russia) purports to occupy the seat of an entirely different (and defunct) state (USSR) with a vastly different territory, population, etc. But there was no such vote. Russia presented no credentials to the UN Credentials Committee. The committee had nothing to approve. If the UN both represents and (we’re told) enforces the “rules-based international order,” then how about enforcing its own rules?
(Contd. on page 20 )