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International Law

Beyond 2020: The Past and the Next 50 Years of the NPT

Niranjan Jose

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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) commemorates the 50th anniversary of its entry into power and the 25th anniversary of its indefinite extension in 2020. Furthermore, 2020 likewise marks the 75th anniversary of the first and only use of nuclear weapons in conflict. NPT is the foundation of the global non-proliferation regime; however, its internal irregularities are getting increasingly problematic. Regarding its non-proliferation objectives, it has arrived at the limit of its potential.[1]

NPT’s existence has convincingly demonstrated the efficacy of its balanced structure of commitments in three key areas: 

Nuclear non-proliferation

Peaceful use of atomic energy

Disarmament. 

The NPT assumed a key job in stalling the spread of nuclear weapons and established the framework for consistent development towards disarmament, primarily nuclear, and the advancement of universal participation in the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. It can appropriately be considered as an instance of a viable arena for interaction between individuals from the international community in beating global difficulties through multilateral diplomacy.[2]

1995 Review Conference on the indefinite extension of the treaty made it conceivable for the NPT to achieve a permanent character and to guarantee that it works reasonably, by guarding it against political interests and thus reinforced the treaty. The NPT relies on a two-level bargaining framework between the five recognized nuclear-weapon states and other signatories. The states that possessed nuclear weapons would progress in the direction of nuclear disarmament and help the non-atomic weapon states procure peaceful nuclear technology.[3]

States in Asia and the Pacific have been at the front line of global endeavors to actualize the implementation of the NPT. Three of the world’s five NWFZ (nuclear-weapon free zones) are found in the region. These are the Treaty of Rarotonga in South Pacific, the Treaty of Bangkok in Southeast Asia, and the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ). [4]Establishing a NWFZ was initially proposed by Iran, It and was later formalized by a 1974 UN General Assembly resolution. 

Altogether, that resolution made an attentive stride past the only nuclear centered convention of NWFZ discourse, and called rather not only for a Middle Eastern zone liberated from nuclear weapons, yet in actuality “an effectively verifiable Middle East zone liberated from weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.” [5]To advance that objective, it called on regional states to take “reasonable advances” planned for gaining ground on such a zone and called upon all NPT Parties, and especially the five atomic weapon states under the NPT, to pledge their support.[6]

Friction among the NPT parties reached new levels on 7 July 2017 when 122 NPT individuals casted a ballot for TPNW, which embraces the objective of prohibiting every nuclear weapon, including those controlled by the five NPT nuclear weapon states. The TPNW was opened for signature in September 2017 and has just been signed by 59 nations and approved by ten. As indicated by its advocates, it speaks to a viable measure under Article VI of the NPT by making a lawfully restricting preclusion on atomic weapons. For nations opposing the TPNW, including NATO Allies, the Treaty won’t just be ineffectual but risks undermining the NPT. [7]

The TPNW can be deciphered as an indication of the NPT’s midlife meltdown –the dissatisfaction of non-nuclear weapon states, which have a profound feeling of regret for the slow disarmament progress. For its backers, the TPNW is likewise an endeavor to give atomic demobilization new youth and vitality. In the end, it might be workable for NPT individuals to discover a solution and settle on a middle ground in the new treaty[8]

It is ideal to move toward these difficulties in three expansive, reasonable territories: 

Measures that could help change the security condition to diminish motivating forces for states to hold, obtain, or increment their stockpile of atomic weapons; 

Institutions and procedures to reinforce restraint endeavors and manufacture trust in atomic disarmament; and 

Measures to lessen the probability of nuclear war among weapons holders during the timeframe that remaining parts before such weapons are eliminated. 

Four out of the previous nine review meetings finished up without any consensus proclamation. Over past decades, there has been an overall discernment among NPT observers that the Treaty is functioning in a bad way and in danger of getting outdated and inevitably fails, on account of expansion challenges and debates about demilitarization. 

The failure of the 2015 NPT Review Conference can be blamed on the firmness of numerous signatories, improper usage of the review process and a lack of guided leadership from any member states. Although the Treaty will continue in power, the failure in 2015 was profoundly frustrating as a squandered chance to propel the goals and objectives of the NPT, which is generally viewed as the foundation of the worldwide nuclear non- proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime.[9]

At the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference in Geneva, Three regional groups (NAM, Arab and Africa) harshly criticized Washington’s line on the WMDFZ. Hazardous developments made the circumstance inside the NPT system heat up. Along these lines, endeavors were made to utilize the review procedure as a stage to apply opportunistic political weight on certain states, including Russia. 

The system is continually advancing and adjusting to new realities, keeping up its pertinence and capacity to react sufficiently to current difficulties and dangers in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation. [10]While the NPT will endure, the validity of the system has been seriously harmed by the resoluteness of parties and hazardous new tendencies that are on the rise. These include an unchecked resurgence for the saliency of nuclear weapons in European security, misfortunes for diminishing and disposing of nuclear weapons, expanding strife both between and among the NNWS and NWS, further deteriorating trust in the NPT by the Arab states and a general loss of credibility in the nuclear disarmament objective of the NPT.

Wihout the NPT, up to 50 nations could have obtained atomic weapons at this point[11], although it was impractical to completely block the rise of new states with nuclear weapon capabilities, the settlement altogether restricted the political and financial chances. The four states with atomic weapons not under the NPT are Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea —represent a modest number than the anticipated development during the 1960s of 25-30 new nuclear states. Numerous states surrendered atomic weapons programs and joined the NPT, recognizing that the advantages of the settlement exceeded the quest for an atomic stockpile. [12]

The 2020 review meeting will occur in an especially unsure global environment because of two ongoing significant advancements:

The U.S. abandonment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran 

The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula

(because of the June 12, 2018, meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.)

Additionally the US has withdrawn from the ABM Treaty followed by unobstructed unilateral deployment of the US global missile defense system, and has refused to approve the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Followed by development of high-precision offensive weapons, and the possible deployment of hostile weapons in space. This has expanded quantitative and subjective lopsided characteristics in conventional weapons.[13]

Also relevant for the 2020 meeting is the strong sentiment of frustration among a few Middle Eastern states with the challenges encompassing the proposed establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass decimation in region. These issues will get featured at the 2020 Review Conference and can possibly wreck trust among states and, truth be told, invalidate all demilitarization endeavors.


[1] Williams, Sebastian Brixey. “2020: A Crucial Year for Nuclear Disarmament | UNA-UK.” Una.Org.Uk, 2020, www.una.org.uk/magazine/2019-1/2020-crucial-year-nuclear-disarmament. 

             [2] “50th Anniversary of the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).” Représentation Permanente de La France Auprès Des Organisations Internationales et Des Nations Unies à Vienne, 2019, onu-vienne.delegfrance.org/0th-anniversary-of-the-treaty-on-the-non-proliferation-of-nuclear-weapons-NPT.

[3] FORD, DR. CHRISTOPHER ASHLEY. “The P5, the ‘N5,’ and the NPT Review Conference – United States Department of State.” United States Department of State, 2019, www.state.gov/the-p5-the-n5-and-the-npt-review-conference/. 

[4] Erästö, Tytti. “Fifty Years of the NPT—Cause for Celebration or Commemoration? | SIPRI.” Sipri.Org, 23 May 2019, www.sipri.org/commentary/blog/2019/fifty-years-npt-cause-celebration-or-commemoration.

[5] MARTIN, JAMES. “Whither A Middle East WMD-Free Zone? – United States Department of State.” United States Department of State, 2019, www.state.gov/whither-a-middle-east-wmd-free-zone/.

             [6] Zachary Laub, Kali Robinson. “What Is the Status of the Iran Nuclear Agreement?” Council on Foreign Relations, 2017, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-status-iran-nuclear-agreement.

[7] “House of Lords – Rising Nuclear Risk, Disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – Select Committee on International Relations.” Parliament.Uk, 2020, publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldintrel/338/33803.htm. 

[8] Durkalec, Jacek. “The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at Fifty: A Midlife Crisis.” NATO Review, 29 June 2018, www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2018/06/29/the-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-at-fifty-a-midlife-crisis/index.html.

[9] HOUSE OF LORDS Select Committee on International Relations 7th Report of Session 2017-19 Rising Nuclear Risk, Disarmament and the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty. 2019.

[10] Hudson, Kate. “50 Years of the NPT – CND.” CND, 18 Apr. 2018, cnduk.org/50-years-of-the-npt/. 

[11] The Manila Times. “50 Years of the NPT – The Manila Times.” The Manila Times, The Manila Times Publishing Corp, 22 June 2018, www.manilatimes.net/2018/06/22/opinion/analysis/50-years-of-the-npt/411001/.

[12] Twenty4. “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – UNRCPD.” UNRCPD, 2015, unrcpd.org/wmd/the-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty/. 

[13] CENTRE FOR SCIENCE & SECURITY STUDIES Meeting in the Middle. Dec. 2019.

Niranjan Jose is a third-year law student pursuing BBA LLB from NLUO. He is a national level debater with a keen interest in International Relations. At law school, Jose has exposed himself to a variety of subjects such as Contemporary International Politics, International Monetary Economics, and International Trade law. He has presented papers at the 5th International Conference on Social Sciences 2018 and 7th International Conference on Asian Studies 2019 on the topics “Saudi-Iranian Cold War: Analysis and Implications” and “Turkey: Regional aspirations in the changing Middle East”. At NLUO, Jose hopes to further his understanding of foreign policy, as well as the intersection of public policy, politics, and international trade strategy. In his spare time, Jose enjoys traveling and is up for any place new.

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International Law

The United Nations and the Neglected Conflict of Kashmir

Dr.Ghulam Nabi Fai

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The principle of ‘right of self-determination’ and its applicability to the 72-year-old Kashmir conflict needs to be considered during the 75th session of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly that is taking place between October 8 to November 10, 2020 at its headquarters in New York. The Committee will discuss and deliberate the issues related to international conflicts and decolonization. What I do hope to offer is an unstarry-eyed view of the fate of self-determination in Kashmir; and, the indispensability of convincing the United Nations that international peace and security would be strengthened, not weakened, by resolving the Kashmir conflict to the satisfaction of all parties concerned..

The self-determination of peoples is a basic principle of the United Nation Charter, which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and applied countless times to the settlement of international disputes.

The concept seems to be as old as Government itself and was the basis of French and American revolutions. In 1916, President Wilson stated that self-determination is not a mere phrase. He said that it is an imperative principle of action and included it in the famous 14-point charter. This gave a prominence to the principle. Self-determination as conceived by Wilson was an imprecise amalgamation of several strands of thought, some long associated in his mind with the notion of “self-determination,” others hatched as a result or wartime developments, but all imbued with a general spirit of democracy.

Self- determination is a principle that has been developed in philosophic thought and practice for the last several hundred years. It is an idea that has caused people throughout the world to rise up and shed the chains of oppressive governments at great risk.

Finally, in 1945 the establishment of the UN gave a new dimension to the principle of self-determination.  It was made one of the objectives, which the UN would seek to achieve, along with equal rights of all nations. Article 1.2 of the Charter of the Untied Nations reads: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

From 1952 onwards, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a series of resolutions proclaiming the right to self-determination. The two most important of these are resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970. Resolution 1514 was seen almost exclusively as part of process of decolonization. 1514 is entitled: Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.”

International Court of Justice considered the several resolutions on decolonization process and noted:  “The subsequent development of International Law in regard to non-self governing territories as enshrined in the Charter of the UN made the principle of self-determination applicable to all of them.”  This opinion establishes the self-determination as the basic principle for the process of de-colonization.

The principle of self-determination in modern times can be defined as the right of peoples to determine their own political status and pursue their own economic, social and cultural policies.  Self-determination in its literal meaning or at a terminological level also implies the right [of a people] to express itself to organize in whatever way it wants. A people must be free to express their will without interference or threat of interference from a controlling authority. This includes alien domination, foreign occupation and colonial rule.

Although, the applicability of the principle of the self-determination to the specific case of Jammu and Kashmir has been explicitly recognized by the United Nations. It was upheld equally by India and Pakistan when the Kashmir dispute was brought before the Security Council. Since, on the establishment of India and Pakistan as sovereign states, Jammu and Kashmir was not part of the territory of either, the two countries entered into an agreement to allow its people to exercise their right of self-determination under impartial auspices and in conditions free from coercion from either side. The agreement is embodied in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, explicitly accepted by both Governments. It is binding on both Governments and no allegation of non-performance of any of its provisions by either side can render it inoperative.

It is apparent from the record of the Security Council that India articulated the principle, accepted the practical shape the Security Council gave to it and freely participated in negotiations regarding the modalities involved. However, when developments inside Jammu & Kashmir made her doubt her chances of winning the plebiscite, she changed her stand and pleaded that she was no longer bound by the agreement. Of course, she deployed ample arguments to justify the somersault. But even though the arguments were of a legal or quasi-legal nature, she rejected a reference to the World Court to pronounce on their merits. This is how the dispute became frozen with calamitous consequences for Kashmir most of all, with heavy cost for Pakistan and with none too happy results for India itself.

By all customary moral and legal yardsticks, 23 million Kashmiris from both sides of the Ceasefire Line (CFL) enjoy a right to self-determination. Kashmir’s legal history entitles it to self-determination from Indian domination every bit as much as Eritrea’s historical independence entitled it to self-determination from Ethiopian domination.

India’s gruesome human rights violations in Kashmir also militate in favor of self-determination every bit as much as Yugoslavia’s human rights violations and ethnic cleansing created a right to self-determination in Bosnia and Kosovo. Kashmir’s history of social and religious tranquility further bolsters its claim to self-determination every bit as much as East Timor’s history of domestic peace before Indonesia’s annexation in 1975 entitled it to self-determination in 1999.                                   

If law and morality are overwhelmingly on the side of Kashmiri self-determination, then why has that quest been thwarted for 72 years? The answer is self-evident: the military might of India. India is too militarily powerful, including a nuclear arsenal, and too economically mesmerizing to expect the United States, the United Nations, NATO, or the European Union to intervene. The United States is reluctant to exert moral suasion or pressure to prod India because it covets more India’s alluring economic markets and collaboration in fighting global terrorism.  Further, the size and wealth of the Indian lobby in the United States dwarfs the corresponding lobbies supporting Kashmir.  

The world powers need to understand that there is no way the dispute can be settled once and for all except in harmony with the people’s will, and there is no way the people’s will can be ascertained except through an impartial vote. Secondly, there are no insuperable obstacles to the setting up of a plebiscite administration in Kashmir under the aegis of the United Nations. The world organization has proved its ability, even in the most forbidding circumstances, to institute an electoral process under its supervision and control and with the help of a neutral peace‑keeping force. The striking example of this is Namibia, which was peacefully brought to independence after seven decades of occupation and control by South Africa; East Timor and Southern Sudan, which got independence only through the intervention of the United Nations. Thirdly, as Sir Owen Dixon, the United Nations Representative, envisaged seven decades ago, the plebiscite can be so regionalized that none of the different zones of the state will be forced to accept an outcome contrary to its wishes.

In conclusion, a sincere and serious effort towards a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute must squarely deal with the realities of the situation and fully respond to the people’s rights involved in it. Indeed, any process that ignores the wishes of the people of Kashmir and is designed to sidetrack the United Nations will not only prove to be an exercise in futility but can also cause incalculable human and political damage.

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UN anniversary’s gloomy takeaways

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On its 75th anniversary and amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has for the first time convened world leaders mainly in an online format to seek action and solutions for a world in crisis.

The UNO’s predecessor, the League of Nations, wrapped up its work with the outbreak of World War 2, but the further the start of the present United Nations slides back in history, the more skeptical assessments of its performance are being heard today. How come?

The United Nations Organization was created by the victorious nations shortly after the end of the Second World War, but the idea of ​​creating a new international organization tasked with maintaining global peace and security was actually floated by members of the anti-Hitler coalition even before the war was over. During their August 14, 1941 meeting at the British naval station Argentia (Newfoundland), US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inked the Atlantic Charter, which defined the two countries’ goals in the war against Nazi Germany, and outlined the first sketches of the post-war world order. The Soviet Union joined the declaration on September 24 of that same year. On January 1, 1942, representatives of 26 Allied countries endorsed the Atlantic Charter and signed the United Nations Declaration. Welcomed as the idea of creating a new organization was by everyone, however, there still were numerous disagreements regarding its tasks, goals and powers.

At a conference held in Moscow on October 19-30, 1943, the foreign ministers of the USSR, the US and Great Britain (Vyacheslav Molotov, Cordell Hull and Anthony Eden), signed the Declaration of Four Nations on General Security (it was also signed by China’s ambassador to the USSR Fu Bingchang), where the parties pledged to fast-track the creation of an international organization to maintain peace and security. The final agreement on the creation of the United Nations Organization was reached in March 1945 during the Yalta Conference by the leaders of the three Allied Powers – Josef Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

It was established that the UN would be based on the principle of unanimity of the great powers – permanent members of the Security Council with a veto right. Harry Truman, who succeeded Franklin Roosevelt, who died in April 1945, was openly critical of the agreement, but during a conference in San Francisco, where Soviet and US representatives locked horns over a number of issues pertaining to the UN Charter, the Soviet position prevailed.  The sides eventually reached a compromise whereby the UN General Assembly could discuss any issues, but did not have the right to take decisions binding on the UN member states.

On June 26, 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to sign the UN Charter. On October 24, 1945, the Soviet Union became the 29th state to have submitted the instrument of ratification, thus securing the necessary number of votes for the Charter’s entry into force. Since 1948, October 24 has been marked as United Nations Day.

The status of the United Nations Organization, paid for by tens of millions of lives perished in World War II, went unquestioned for quite some time, ensuring for more than half a century peace in Europe and a relatively predictable situation globally. Over time, however, even the most durable world order is bound to be put to a test.

At the turn of the 1990s, the bipolar system of international relations and the Cold War were replaced by a new world order based on the political and economic predominance of the United States and its closest allies. By historical standards, however, this period proved pretty short-lived since the world is too complicated to unconditionally kowtow to the principles of the Washington Consensus. By the close of the 20th century and the start of the 21st, new centers of power and integration projects began to emerge, initiated by countries in Eurasia and Latin America.

Serious doubts about the reliability of the existing system of international security appeared already in 1999 with NATO’s enlargement to the east to incorporate Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic – the first such process since the end of WW2. In that very same year, the forces of the North Atlantic Alliance, sidestepping the UN Security Council, launched bombing raids against Yugoslavia, thus throwing in question the entire system of post-war treaties. Since then, almost every US-initiated military operation in the world has been conducted illegitimately and classified by the UN Security Council as an act of aggression and condemned by both Russia and China, which insist that any use of force in international relations, be it political, economic or military, should come exclusively as a result of consensus of all members of the Security Council.

The veto right by a permanent member of the Security Council to block any decision, even if it is approved by all other members, remains the backbone of the entire system of international security. Everyone understands this, but not everyone is ready to come to terms with it.

The UN’s presence in the world after the end of the inter-bloc confrontation has significantly increased with its mandate transcending military aspects and now including humanitarian and social issues.

However, the world is facing the growing threat of numerous conflicts flaring up that can’t be resolved without a consensual decision by the key UN member states which, in turn, has proved to be extremely hard to achieve. It’s not just about the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as even the content of international documents is being disputed now. Who would possibly object to the need to combat the activities of terrorist and extremist organizations? And still, practice shows that the term “terrorism” carries a different meaning for European countries and, for example, those in the Middle East. As a result, UN Security Council resolutions on the settlement of contemporary conflicts in this region are actually ignored. Civil wars in Libya and Syria, as well as the extremely difficult situation in Iraq, caused to a large extent by the interference of the United States and its allies, as well as by the activities of network extremists, have added to the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Adding to this is the rising threat posed by drug and cyber terrorism.

With the situation being as it is, the United Nations is facing a growing wave of criticism. The organization has been criticized before – in 1993 the UN mission in Somalia fell though, and in 1994, the UN failed to prevent genocide in Rwanda, stop hostilities in Congo and the civil war in the Balkans, which led to an armed intervention by NATO. The actions by representatives of the UN and organizations it helped create in the Middle East often lack their declared impartiality.

While during the Cold War era decision-making mechanisms in the international arena were based on the decisions by the Yalta and Potsdam conferences of 1945, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and a raft of arms control treaties, after the period of confrontation ended, so did the period of transparent “rules of the game” in world politics. Moreover, many non-state actors have emerged and now wield serious financial and political influence. Nevertheless, the UN remains the only organization that prevents the existing structure of global security from falling apart in the extremely difficult circumstances of this day and age.

There have been growing demands to bring the UN and its Security Council in line with modern-day realities. During the 75 years of the organization’s existence, the number of its member states has increased from 50 to 193, as have the shortcomings of many of its agencies. Many criticize the UN’s peacekeeping operations as haphazard, extremely selective and prone to double standards. The organization has been repeatedly called out for being in a financial crisis. Many developing countries (states of the “global South”) are trying to limit the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members of the Security Council and are demanding more equitable geographical representation in the Council. Developed countries such as Germany, Japan, Brazil and India also seek the status of permanent members of the UN Security Council. They propose to expand the Council to 25 members, with two permanent seats reserved for Asia and Africa and one each for Latin America and Western Europe.

In 2017, US President Donald Trump came up with a plan to reform the UN, proposing, among other things, to optimize the organization’s expenses and get more return for every dollar invested in it. Well, by the efficiency of the UN’s work Trump apparently means decisions that would serve America’s best interests.

Washington’s tactic regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program is very indicative here. In 2015, Iran and the 5 + 1 group of states (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, as well as Germany) signed the so-called Iran nuclear deal, according to which Tehran refused to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for a gradual lifting of international sanctions. However, in 2018, Washington pulled out of the accord and announced new sanctions against the Islamic Republic. On August 20, 2020, the United States sent a letter to the UN Security Council announcing the launch of the so-called sanctions snapback process whereby any signatory to the 2015 deal could re-impose sanctions against Iran if it found that Tehran was not fulfilling its obligations under the agreement. The idea was simple: it was enough to submit a request to the UN Security Council to launch the snapback mechanism to force the Security Council to raise the issue of continued implementation of the entire Iranian nuclear deal. The Americans would then use their veto power and the document would simply cease to exist. This didn’t happen though as all other permanent members of the Security Council ignored the US request. Therefore, following the necessary 30-day pause, on September 21, the US imposed unilateral sanctions against Tehran. A paradoxical situation ensued: de jure, no sanctions exist for most countries, but de facto, Washington feels free to punish anyone who dares to violate these “nonexistent” restrictions and continues to cooperate with Tehran pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2231.

The majority of the permanent members of the Security Council want to more or less keep in place the UN’s current decision-making mechanisms, which give them obvious privileges while simultaneously allowing them to solve the main task the UN was originally created for, i.e. the prevention of major wars between great powers. Besides, no comprehensive reform of the organization appears likely since there are no criteria all member countries would agree with. Therefore, despite all the critical barbs, the organization will continue in its classical form, at least for now. Meanwhile, the world finds itself in a state of complete uncertainty caught between the remaining fragments of a failed attempt to build a unipolar system and institutions inherited from the second half of the 20th century.

Russia’s position on the UN reform remains fairly balanced. Moscow believes that changes should not affect two key provisions – the approval of the proposed plan by the overwhelming majority of the participating countries, and the preservation of the Security Council’s prerogatives, including the right of veto.

Russia stands for the development of the UN’s peacekeeping potential, which it believes is not fully in line with the tasks currently facing the organization, and for wider cross-border social and humanitarian cooperation necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The way out of the socio-economic crisis caused by this epidemic will be long and extremely difficult, therefore it is imperative to stop dividing countries into “us” and “them,” and start developing all the necessary mechanisms of cooperation. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov outlined these priorities in his speech at the 75th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly on behalf of the CSTO member states.

“The fate of the United Nations is in the hands of its member states. Just like in 1945, we need to cast aside our differences and come together for the sake of delivering on common objectives, based on equitable dialogue and mutual respect for one another’s interests. The UN offers all the necessary conditions to this effect,” Lavrov emphasized.

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Act realistically in the age of realism

Samudrala VK

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To understand the geo-politics of the world in a simpler or lucid way, there is a law, not in Political science but Physics, which helps even a naiver to get a clear picture of this complex whole, provided that he/she has a  basic level knowledge in the latter discipline. In the age of realism, every nation tries to gain a comparative advantage over its adversaries in political, economical, technological and cultural spheres. To make it more understandable, lets assume that there are two countries, A and B. If A has 20 weapons in its military basket, then B fights tooth and nail to get more than what A possess. As a result, If A attacks B, B would be in a position to retaliate. Thus, If A initiates action, correspondingly B reacts and vice versa. Thus, The great game of geo-politics is characterized by a series of actions and reactions. If B fails to attain the capabilities that are more or equivalent to A to strike back then B looks at another player(c) in order to checkmate A. Many a group around the world has formed based on military, ideological, religious, cultural and political factors. In this case, groups rather than individual players resort to tit for tat.Yes, It is Newton’s third law of motion. Known for its ubiquitous and all-pervasive applicability, Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law can be applied to global politics too.Driven by avarice, superiority and insecurity, this confrontation between and among the players is perpetual as long as the international system is centered on nation-state concept.

Given the recent political developments, Eurasia, especially the West Asia, has become a new theatre for this hegemonic kerfuffle. As the geo-political game in the West Asia, a resource rich region, is reaching inexorably new heights, the powerful players in and outside the region are bidding to secure their interests. The political imbroglio between Iran, a regional power and the US, a de facto superpower, has been spinning out of control.

The US strategy of blocking Iran’s economic lifeline through the imposition of harsh penalities has gone haywire instead of bringing Tehran to its knees. Although,the Iranian economy is down at the heels, thanks to the “maximum pressure” policy of POTUS, Tehran’s intransigent approach seems to be a shock to the US.Iran is weathering the storm successfully and has been trying to bring anti-US forces on its side. The assassination of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in the month of January this year by the US was the last straw and had forced Tehran to come out more openly to get even with the US.

The US foreign policy, under Donald Trump’s leadership, is loaded with megalomania and vulpine motives which has proven disastrous not only to its allies but also for the interests of US itself.The unilateral exit from the JCPOA(Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)is an egregious error on the part of US when other parties to the deal are satisfied with the progress being made by Iran with regard to its commitments under the JCPOA.As long as its nuclear installations are open to inspections of the IAEA(International Atomic Energy Agency) and the nuclear stockpile is well within limits, it is preposterous to assume that Iran is misleading the world.The US administration has been admonishing UNSC members for acting too lenient and defying its call to reinstate the sanctions on Tehran of pre-2015 JCPOA level.Recently, the US has faced a humiliating defeat at the UN following its proposal to extend arms embargo on Iran which has failed to secure enough numbers. Dissension over the question of Iran in the UNSC has flummoxed the US administration, especially when its European allies have turned a deaf ear to Donald Trump’s warnings to extend arms embargo on Tehran.

The proposed 25-year strategic pact between Iran and China, which reflects the growing convergence of the interests between the duo, is an epitome of Tehran’s anti-American stance. Thus, the deal is a win-win situation for both players as Iran is yearning to relieve its economy which is reeling under the decades-long sanction regime and is in search of reliable market to its oil and gas exports. China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, is looking forward to diversify its energy basket rather than depending on Saudi Arabia, a largest crude oil supplier to China. Being an all-weather friend of the US, Saudi Arabia might stop its supplies to Beijing if contention between Washington and Beijing goes beyond trade and commerce.

It is important to mention that Iran got a second wind in the form of China’s $400 billion investment plan which covers economical, infrastructural and technological aspects, not to mention military.Beijing’s bear hug with Tehran cannot be seen solely as a bilateral affair but a larger manifestation of unfolding Moscow-Tehran-Beijing nexus. Apart from the strong aversion towards the west global order, the trio also have commonalities with regard to regional security and stability. Beijing has been trying to engage with anti-American players across the Eurasia as part of its BRI( Belt and Road Initiative).

Many nations in Asia and Africa have been struggling on shoestring budgets. Therefore, in order to meet the growing demand for infrastructural needs there is no way other than cuddling a generous partner who can lend the wherewithal and provide technological know-how on liberal terms.As a result,these countries jumped on the bandwagon i.e., BRI. China, with its economic clout, has a desire to capitalize on resources of these nations.The wide spread concern over the lack of transparency, environmental degradation and sovereignty in the BRI is construed by these players as a ploy by the US to derail their economic progress.

Japan is trying to catch up with China by unveiling similar sort of programmes like Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure to meet infrastructural needs in Asia and Africa.In addition, Blue-Dot network(BDN), a joint initiative of the US, Australia and Japan, is being perceived as a counter to BRI.BDN is a rating agency, rather than a lending body on the lines of BRI, which certifies infrastructural projects based on financial feasibility, quality, environmental aspects and sustainability. A project which receives nod from BDN would be deemed as economically sustainable which would attract private players to invest ,thereby propelling economic growth. The quality component, which BRI has neglected so far, has occupied prominent place in this trilateral initiative. It remains to be seen whether the standards and practices set by BDN will be accepted as global standards by other countries especially Russia and China.


Following China’s cheque book diplomacy in order to placate nations across the Eurasia  could cost these BDN players an arm and a leg.The US has been impelling other players like India to join the BDN bandwagon, given the latter’s animosity with China.

India’s outlook towards Iran is futile and unclear.In addition to the growing appetite for oil, the crucial component of its energy security, and given the high stakes involved in the region, India need to design an independent and pragamtic policy in dealing with Tehran rather than kowtowing to the diktats of the US.

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