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Opinion: Has the United Nations Failed its Purpose?



Why Three countries Abstained on the UN Resolution against Russia

Following years of destruction, bloodshed and strife, on October 24, 1945, an organization emerged from San Francisco, California, USA with the promise that it could guide the world out of its bleak state.

This organization was named the United Nations (UN), with 51 founding members and a vow to not only help the world heal from the effects of a disastrous second world war, but to protect it from any future escalations that could lead to something worse.

For over 75 years, the United Nations has worked from within its headquarters in the United States and has expanded to become the world’s largest intergovernmental system, with over 193 nations acting as its members. 

The purpose of the UN at its establishment, as outlined by its founding members, was that it would become an international committee dedicated to creating peace and security, friendly relationships and healthy living standards within countries and between countries.

In order to follow up on these promises, the UN has six main bodies: the General Assembly, which all 193 members have a seat on; the Security Council, which has 5 permanent and 10 elected members; the Economic and Social Council, which has 54 elected members; the Trusteeship Council, which was suspended in 1994 after its mission was complete; the International Court of Justice, which is a judicial branch meant to settle legal disputes between States; and the Secretariat, in which thousands of members handle day-to-day tasks mandated by the General Assembly.

But although the UN has become the world’s largest peace-keeping organization in a quantitative form, recent events in the world beg to ask: has it really been fulfilling its purpose at a qualitative level? 

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is charged with the task of ensuring international peace and keeping security — a task that has already been failed as strife runs rampant globally, mostly thanks to the structure of the UNSC.

The make-up of the UN Security Council is such that there are 5 permanent members — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China — as well as 10 members that are elected by the General Assembly every two years. In order for a proposed resolution to pass, 9 members must vote in favour of it — that number includes the 5 permanent members, who must all agree. If any of the 5 permanent members vetoes or abstains from a specific resolution, it cannot be passed.

Before the escalation of the 2022 conflict, the United Nations failed to foster friendly relationships between Russia and Ukraine. Their inaction in resolving the growing tensions through peaceful means then was a failure on the part of the UN, leading to a more disastrous situation: the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On February 26, 2022, a resolution was introduced to the UNSC that hoped to officially condemn Russia’s escalation of aggression as ‘deplorable’. Of the 15 representative nations, 11 voted in favour. This would have been enough to pass the resolution — if it had not been for Russia’s veto.

As a permanent member, Russia’s veto meant that the resolution was put face down — and that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could continue without any real repercussions or condemnation from the world’s largest ‘peace-keeping’ society.

This is not the first time a permanent member has used — or abused — the status and abilities given to them by the structure of the UNSC. In fact, the power of veto has been used over 300 times since 1946, with Russia using it the most. With their veto power, the USA, the UK, France, China and Russia have all been able to protect themselves and their allies from facing the consequences of their actions. 

Thus, the existence of the United Nations in itself becomes hypocritical: their emphasis on the importance of giving each nation an equal playing field to strengthen global bonds backfires when the UN itself has historically given some countries more power over others.

Aside from their unjust structure, the United Nations is also accused of inaction, on the basis that they have no real capability. Though they have access to a very public stage, the institution has little physical or binding power. Decisions that are made do not have to be adopted by each nation, and therefore, leaves room for injustice and inequality to perpetuate in some corners of the world. But like it is popularly said, no injustice is eradicated unless all injustice is eradicated; the UN’s lack of concrete or binding action thus leads inequality to continue freely.

Even their global stage, which is the UN’s greatest asset, has been misused by permanent members and other large powers to further fuel injustice. When Russia was accused of spreading disinformation on the global UNSC stage through their speeches, the integrity of the United Nations and its ability to to present people with the truth came into question. The world’s largest podium amplifying false narratives is a great security threat in itself, allowing misinformation to spread with more ease and causing real harm.

In the midst of all of the UN’s faults, it is not only members of the United Nations that receive a blow when unfair power dynamics and inaction come into play — it is also the people, for whom the resolution was meant to be a beacon of hope for, that are affected.

The United Nations’ inability to call Russia out for inciting a war that has led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions allows Russia to continue without fear of being held accountable. Ukranians continue to live in constant fear of the destruction of their homes and the loss of their lives. Their lack of action beyond a host of UN representatives delivering punchy speeches at the General Assembly on March 2, 2022 on why Russia should end its invasion means the world’s most powerful organization has let more war crimes thrive under its watch.

For all citizens of the globe, the United Nations has failed to provide an assurance of security and peace. With the threat of a third world war, the United Nations looms ever-close to failing the only promise they’ve upheld: the aversion of nuclear warfare.

The entire premise of the United Nations was to prevent future generations from witnessing the effects of global conflict — but because of the structure of the UN and its inability to actually force action in the face of injustice, not just words, the world is now very close to seeing something even worse than people did generations ago. The UN’s continued failure to de-escalate, engage in peace talks, and denounce war crimes has taken the world one step closer to a situation that could become total annihilation.

Their failure has also instilled a looming sense of dread in people, that the same bleak scenario the UN was born out of could fall upon us again; when the most powerful organization in the world and the largest intergovernmental institution is unable to de-escalate a crisis, then the hope that a large-scale crisis can be averted at all, plummets.

Time and time again, the United Nations has displayed its failure to act as anything beyond a symbolic body of peace. But the world already has enough symbols of peace, what the world needs now is some concrete action that takes a step towards it.

The United Nations’ incompetence to establish international security and healthy living standards have rendered it obsolete. So the question becomes: what is the purpose of keeping a governing body that fails its one and only job to maintain a peaceful world?

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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I am a student from Ontario, Canada, and an aspiring journalist. I enjoy reading, writing and learning about the world around us - the issues with it and how we can make it a better place.

Daily Brief

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan



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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade



Odesa pristav
  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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‘Don’t forget them’: millions of Afghans face hunger, economic crisis 

International aid workers share stories of children and families struggling to make ends meet




“Winter is coming.”

That’s how Ammar Ammar, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, describes the situation in Afghanistan. The current hunger crisis, the result of a collapsing economy and drought, will only get worse if the country doesn’t get help, he says, especially in the colder months when people also have to stay warm.

“It’s not Game of Thrones here, it’s reality.”

Almost a year after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the world has become silent about the plight of the country and its people, who are facing one of their worst humanitarian and economic crisis in decades.

After the fall of Kabul, the international community declined to recognize the Taliban regime. Countries paused foreign aid and imposed sanctions. The United States also froze billions in Afghan state assets.

A country that had become reliant on external aid was left on its own. In the process, millions of Afghans were abandoned, too.

On a recent lunch break in Kabul, Ammar saw two girls, one about six years old and the other about three. One of them was lying down on the sidewalk, while the other was squatting next to a big nylon bag. They’d been collecting pieces of scrap metal on the streets to make ends meet. 

“You could see that they were exhausted,” Ammar said. “You are going for your break and at the same time you can see two kids on the street, where they have no break at this age. It strikes you.”

And there are thousands of children like them.

“We are doing a massive job,” Ammar says. “But the sad reality is we can’t help everyone at the end of the day.”

A woman in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of the Badghis province recently told the UN-run World Food Programme (WFP) in Kabul how she made ends meet after her husband died five years prior. 

“In the past, she said, she had a fair life, just getting by cleaning and washing for other people. After the economy collapsed, families have no money anymore to pay her and her work dried up,” said WFP spokesperson Philippe Kropf in an email. As a result, she borrows money to buy food, going further into debt.

“She told me she has not been able to buy cooking oil for weeks. She eats bread with tea and sometimes rice,” he said.

Afghanistan abandoned

A young man told Kropf that “his family went to sleep many evenings without anything to eat in the past months.”

“They borrowed food with neighbours, but increasingly the neighbours have nothing to share,” he added, noting the young man had only completed second grade and was trying to find labour jobs to make ends meet. “But these jobs are getting rarer and rarer because of the collapse of the economy, too.”

The man participated in a training program to gain skills such as tailoring or mobile phone repair to earn a livelihood. The program trains 200 men and women over six months, during which participants receive food assistance for their families. 

“After the training, (the young man) hopes to either open his own little shop, sewing clothing for men and children or to find work in a tailor shop and work for a salary,” Kropf said.

Prospects of famine remain

With the country reeling from recent droughts, and facing high inflation, a difficult situation is becoming even worse.

“For the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities, marking the shifting face of hunger in the country,” Kropf said, noting some people are seeking help from WFP for the first time in their lives.

“The scale of the crisis in Afghanistan is immense, and needs continue to outpace available funding,” he added. The WFP needs nearly US $1 billion by the end of 2022 to help 18 million people – nearly half the population of Afghanistan.

Of that, the group urgently needs US $172 million to secure 150,000 metric tonnes of food to support 2.2 million people in remote parts of Afghanistan, which can get cut off by ice and snow in winter.

“We need these even more urgently because of the long lead-times for food commodities that we need to buy internationally,” Kropf said, including vegetable oil and specialized nutritious foods. “We need to get them into (the) country and then drive them into the mountains.”

The lack of funds in state bank accounts means civil servants aren’t being paid regularly, companies are shutting down and ordinary civilians face restricted access to their own savings.

Prospects of famine remain, said Ammar, noting that the main indicator is farming, which most people depend on to make ends meet. Farmers say climate change is resulting in less food production, resulting in extended periods when people don’t have adequate access to food.

Need for international aid

At the end of June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit southeast Afghanistan, killing      over 1,000 people and causing damage the International Rescue Committee described as “catastrophic.”

“This earthquake is a catastrophe for the people affected, but the response to the wider crisis in Afghanistan remains a catastrophe of choice for the international community,” said David Miliband, the group’s CEO and president in a release at the time.

“While humanitarian aid has averted famine for now, policies of economic isolation, the halting of development funding, and the lack of support for Afghan civil servants are unraveling the two decades of development progress that western leaders vowed to protect.” 

He noted that families across the country face unemployment, leading to lower demand among local businesses which in turn leads to further job losses. He called for the international community to urgently provide funding to the country as well as “the phased and closely monitored unfreezing of assets.”

The question of frozen assets

Advocates for Afghanistan have criticized U.S.’s decision to freeze a portion of the country’s assets and decried a proposal for the U.S. to use some of them to support families affected by 9/11.

Afghanistan’s assets rightfully belong to Afghanistan, said Zubair Iqbal, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. 

However, while unfreezing the funds would help bring immediate help to alleviate Afghanistan’s crisis, the country will need more support in the long-term, said Iqbal, who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund for more than 30 years.

The solution is to grant foreign aid to Afghanistan in a sustainable way to allow recovery, while managing its spending through an independent entity, he said.

Concerns around a proposal in the U.S. to use some of the Afghan assets to support families affected by 9/11 prompted a group of Afghan women to write an open letter to U.S. President Joe Biden in February.

“Taking funds from the Afghan people is the unkindest and most inappropriate response for a country that is going through the worst humanitarian crisis in its history,” the letter reads. “It is the squeezing of a wounded hand.”

Freezing the assets from the Taliban was the right decision, said one of the signatories in an interview, but they belong to the Afghan people and must be released to address the humanitarian crisis. 

“My expectation from the international community is to put serious attention on Afghanistan,” said Roshan Mashal, former deputy director of Afghan Women’s Network, who left Afghanistan after the takeover and is now a fellow at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

She called for coordination on how countries engage with the Taliban and to support the country’s people, as millions of Afghans face hunger and economic crisis.

“Don’t forget them,” she said.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession



US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test



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  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia cuts Germany’s Gas Supply causing Prices to Soar 



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  • Over the course of the Russian-Ukrainian War, Russia began to slowly cut off Germany’s gas supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. 
  • Before the war, over half of Germany’s gas came from Russia. By the end of June it was reduced to a quarter of its normal captivity, and now it operates at less than a fifth of it. 
  • Russia’s energy firm Gazprom has stated that this need to cut off Germany’s gas supply was due to maintenance work on a turbine that is needed. Critics have disagreed, claiming that Russia is using it’s gas as a ploy to cause terror to Europe. 
  • The cut of Gas supply to Germany and other central European countries has caused gas prices to rise almost 2%, causing the trade to close to a record high similar to that of when Russia invaded Ukraine. 
  • While Germany scrambles to find a solution to this, Poland states it will be fully independent from Russia by the end of the year in order to avoid blackmail from Russia.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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