The international order is broken – where are the enlightened leaders to remake it? 


By Sir Ronald Sanders

(The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Organization of American States.   He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto) 

The international order, which has existed, although shakily, since the end of World War II and the establishment of the Charter of the United Nations, is now severely broken.

Whether the pieces can be reassembled and strengthened to guarantee a peaceful world is uncertain.  What is certain is that the world is now in a dangerous place and urgently needs visionary leadership to try to pull it back from its current perilous circumstances and to set it on a path of peace and cooperation between nations.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, threats of nuclear confrontation, unprecedented economic sanctions, high oil prices with the prospect of more increases, shortages of food supplies and attendant high costs, are the prevailing order of the day.  No nation has been spared and the situation might well worsen in the coming weeks, with developing countries and small economies suffering the most, since they have the least capacity for resilience.

Every country and region will experience disruption in projected economic growth this year.  The European Union has already announced that it expects much less than the 4% growth that it had expected for its 27 nations collectively.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which was conceived as the forum for guaranteeing peace by ensuring that nations would uphold and respect international law and the principles of the UN Charter, has only been effective when the vested individual interest of the five permanent members was not involved.   Once any of the five – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States (US) – were affected, each of them used their anachronistic veto power to block UNSC action – the only international instrument binding on every nation.

The absurdity of the world being subjected to the veto power of one of five nations was brought into sharp focus throughout the UNSC’s deliberations on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   Not only did Russia make it clear that it would veto any decision it disliked, but it also presided over the proceedings as the rotating President.  This unrepresentative and gravely flawed system has proved impossible to change, and it now seems set to harden.

The UNSC’s role has departed from the original concept enshrined in the UN Charter, specifically articles 39 to 51 of Chapter VII, titled “Action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression”.  This chapter established a framework for collective security based on the use of military forces and gave the UNSC authority for enforcement.

But, since 1947, the political and military ambitions of the nations of the East and West put this chapter into abeyance. It has remained there ever since.  Over the years, a more limited role described as “peace keeping” has emerged.  While this role has been beneficial when it has been activated, it has been fraught with difficulties.

For instance, peacekeeping can only be launched after a conflict has broken out; a mandate from the UNSC is required, and this depends on agreement by all 5 Permanent members of the Council (which seldom happens); no automatic or obligatory mechanism for financing peacekeeping exists, financing depends on the voluntary contributions of rich countries; and peacekeepers cannot pressure combatants to withdraw from occupied territory or to resolve the conflict in general.

In summary, the UNSC, and, consequently, the UN Charter have proven to be paralyzed and ineffective, particularly when permanent members have a vested interest, either directly or indirectly.

Since the end of 1990s, and an initial détente between the nations of the West and East, the nations of the West and Russia have developed different and contradictory approaches to peace-making.  Ostensibly, the Western approach is to resolve armed conflicts through inclusive peace processes and liberal state transformation including democratisation, human rights, political freedoms and good governance. Although, it has to be said that there is more than a little hypocrisy in that stand, as was seen in the US military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the US accommodation of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

For its part, Russia has argued for the primacy of sovereignty, the need for strong states and political order, and the rights of government to suppress internal conflict using any means necessary.   This was Russia’s stance, for instance, in relation to the conflict in Syria.  There is a clear pattern of rigid differences between Russia on the one hand, and the US, UK, and France on the other, with China claiming neutrality.

Russia has now taken the differences a leap further by invading a sovereign nation in pursuit of its own interests, with scant or no regard for the UN Security Council or the 141 members of the UN that voted in a Special Session of the UN General Assembly to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.  Only 5 nations voted against, all of them headed by tyrants.  Thirty-five countries abstained, including China, India and South Africa.

Many of the countries that voted in favour were fearful of being invaded themselves or recognised that, in their own interest, they had to condemn violation of international law.  Those nations that voted against might have been contemplating following the Russian action as a basis for their own use of force in their territorial ambitions. The motivation of the abstaining nations was rooted in what they considered to be their own national interest.  For a few, that included not offending Russia with which they depend for political support and military equipment.

In short, humanity now exists in a troubled world which, even before the invasion of Ukraine, faced major crises such as managing the impact of Climate Change, increasing pandemics, widening economic inequality between developed and developing nations, and restructuring the global financial architecture.  All of these issues require the involvement of all countries; none can be tackled by any one nation or group of nations.

Humanity’s need for enlightened global action, with cooperation at its centre, is now more urgent than ever. It is such international cooperation that should now invigorate the world’s peoples, making it clear that invasions and war are no answers. Might is not right.

Leadership based on ethics, morality, fairness, and justice is needed. Small Caribbean states must demand it, and give it, principally by insisting on respect and adherence to international law by all.

Responses and previous commentaries: 

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  1. So what is your solution, abolish the UN and implement a one world government led by Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum?

  2. Western Europe has already broken it promise years ago when they said no former USSR states will be allowed to join NATO. Russia should have acted long time ago when the Baltic States decided to join NATO. Have a question for everyone. Who destroyed our gaming industry, our offshore banking industry and soon to be CIP programme?
    A. Russia
    B. Western World(USA, Canada& Western Europe)
    Is the answer A or B.

    • The answer is always Russia. Has been since 2016. I remember when they tried to blame hurricane Irma on Russia hacking into some weather weapon!

    • Go talk to anyone who lived under Soviet control and who was liberated when the iron curtain fell and ask them how they liked it. Ever travelled behind the iron curtain when it existed? I have but doubt very much that you have. Do you know anyone who lived behind the iron curtain? I do but doubt very much that you do. But yet you’re a big man offering the Baltic states and Ukraine to Russia.

      The former eastern block countries chose to join NATO. Why? Because they never wanted to be under the control of the Kremlin again. Why? Go educate yourself and ask someone how lived it. A better suggestion for you. Go live in North Korea for a decade then come back and report to us how you liked it. A bit more extreme than the Soviet Union perhaps but similar idea.

      And you bemoan the fact that our off shore banking system was called out for being corrupt? Who was benefitting? Who was making money from our so called gaming industry, the common citizen? And where did all the CIP money go, how has it been a benefit to everyday Antiguans? You must be one of the very few who benefitted. Tell us how?

      You’re most likely some kind of foreign operative want-to-be just trying to sow seeds of dissatisfaction. Keep talking Jack all you’ll ever be is a tool of the anarchists who have brainwashed you.

      • The USSR you are speaking about ended on December 25, 1991 and the ‘Iron Curtain’ no longer exists. The Russia of today is a very different place from the ‘soviet’ days.

        Putin isn’t the monster that his enemies say he is. Putin is a Nationalist who loves his country. Vladimir Putin is a member of the Russian Christian Orthodox Church.

        The person you’ve been describing sounds like a CARACATURE. This should be a tipoff that your information is suspect and that you’ve been brainwashed.

        • Face the facts “A-Team”. Putin is a devil child and his goal is to re-establish the old Soviet Union. Don’t be stupid. He never stopped being a KGB operative. Look at all the people in Ukraine who have been killed by this monster. Some “Christian”!!!! He’s a devil child and is possessed of evil. As for you “A-Team” you sound like a Trump operative. Glory to Ukraine, a free and democratic state under attack by YOU-KNOW-WHO.

        • Open your eyes the curtain is about to fall again. Putin is a die hard Stalinist just wait and see how this unfolds. You are a fool. I’m no caracature, just worldly unlike you. You are a cartoon, a puppet, being used in ways you are incapable of understanding. I feel sorry for you. I don’t believe for a minute that you are an asset for any foreign power as someone has suggested. You are just an ass who wants to feel important. And don’t embarrass yourself by claiming Putin is a Christian or a man of any faith.

        • Now Labeled a war criminal! a Murderer of innocence. A child of the devil angles chased out of the kingdom that came to earth and mingled with humans. Brother of Hitler, queen Liz and the rappers of humanity and yes, an Orthodox Christian. Ron Sanders is over paid

      • @reality check. Not much reality going on in your post. Stop watching CNN and do some research. War is always bad but it’s been going on out there since 2014. Ukraine is a corrupt state and are were using Nazi worshipping battalions in their fight with the ethnic Russians in the South and East of that country. Putin has perhaps stepped in to protect his people but whatever European tribal fights have been going on for generations and are none of our business.

        • Not much of anything going on in your post. So the Jewish president of Ukraine is now a Nazi. And what happened in 2014 to light the flame? Seems a lot like Georgia circa 2008. Brought to you by V. Putin.

          • You mean the ‘jewish’ Ukrainian puppet leader with the $30m mansion in Florida? Don’t make me laugh. Eastern Europe is tribalist mess with different takes on Russian influence. The Baltic States, Poles, and some in Ukraine (the non ethnic Russians) dislike the Russians whereas others Belarusia, Serbia, Bulgaria regard them as brothers. Abroad I’ve worked and met folks from both camps and have traveled to some though admittedly few. Never mind they are all white, it’s about ethnicity, history, land and $$$ with these folks and good actors are hard to come by. So like I say we’re better off staying out of their tribal conflicts.

    • When the cold war stated, we were not needed anymore. And instead of thanking us for our services, you are quite right, they started to take from us. The little things we did to try and survive like the gaming industry and now the CIP, they are taking from us. And, besides the astrazenica, which countries gave us vaccines first? China and Russia.

      @Mr. Ambassador, this article was much better than your previous one. You really tried to bring forward a more balanced view rather than just blaming than the one sided view in the previous article. In this one, you did mentioned a little hypocrisy in relations to similar war again Irag, Aghanistan and the people of Palestine – but it is not a little hypocrisity, that is BIG hypocrosy.

      I am glad to see our people have awoken.

  3. Hey “Wadad 1″…. Are you a Russian operative? Just askin’. We all know Putin is a menace to humanity, a child of the KGB, a Hitler-like dictator, and an enemy of freedom. From a religious standpoint, he is AN anti-christ. GLORY TO UKRAINE!

    • You KNOW this because some talking head on the TV told you that?
      I suggest to you that you’ve been brainwashed into believing stuff that is less then true.
      Instead, try reading some books for a change or listen to people who have.

      • @A-Team, I seriously doubt if you’ve ever read a complete book in your life. You are brainwashed by a sick and corrupt dictator who is killing women and old people and little children every day. Such evil cannot be defended, and you know it (I hope). Are you writing from Russia?

      • A-Team is really Angel. I wish there was a way to put her on ignore. She’s sucking the oxygen out of this news forum.

  4. Seems like some russian assets escaped the economic destruction of their country to come to Antigua and live on our news sites.

  5. What concerns me is that the same peoples, stations and tongues that pushed the COVID fear campaign have now jumped onto Ukraine. Reporting something is one thing. Telling us how we should feel about it is another.

  6. Yes, I believe there are Russian operatives among us, and they are posting on sites like this. Be careful.

  7. Nationalism is the enemy of civilization, and globalism (as well as communism) is doomed to fail. “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” Genesis 11:6-7

    History is repeating itself yet again and we are re-entering a new era of nationalism

  8. I am not surprise by some of the response. We were brainwashed by the west especially the United States to think that they are the good guys. Here is another question, name the 3 countries out of 4 who assisted us the most in the last 10 years.
    1. United States of America
    2. Cuba
    3. Venezuela
    4. China

    Also name one country from the list who has no respect of the WTO ruling in favor of Antigua in relation to our gaming industry.

    • Just because someone does you a favour doesn’t make them good. Assistance is often confused with investment. And you’ll find that out when your benefactor demands a return on their investment. You may not like the terms of repayment that you didn’t even know you agreed to. How’s your Mandarin/Cantonese coming? Got to question your motives sunshine. Where did you hone your indoctrination techniques? Pretty smooth. None of the countries on your list do something for nothing. Your question is bullshit.

  9. Never waste a good crisis Hillary Clinton said.
    Candace Owens was contacted by the New York Times asking for comment on the fact that she, calling the Ukraine government corrupt was echoing Russian state TV. She responded stating that her sources for this opinion were not Russian TV but rather…The New York Times and she cited a past particular article from them. Don’t think they’ll be bothering her again about that.

    These people change with the wind, and we follow them mindlessly. How about stand with Cuba, or St Vincent, or even….Antigua. Glory to…God!

    As for this…Saunders, his task is obviously to promote a New Global (World) Order.

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