The Dysfunction in the United Nations: A Lackluster UN General Assembly

The Dysfunction in the United Nations: A Lackluster UN General Assembly

Empty seats were also visible during Zelenskiy’s speech, making no attempt to hide the reality of dysfunction.

President Zelenskiy giving a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 19 (Photo: Reuters/Afro)

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(Yoichi Masuzoe: International political scientist)

The United Nations General Assembly has begun. Representatives from various countries, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Biden, and President Zelenskiy, are giving speeches, but there is no prospect of a ceasefire in the Ukraine war. The United Nations is failing to meet the challenge of preventing, resolving conflicts, and bringing about peace.

This year’s UN General Assembly was weak

The leaders of four of the five permanent members of the United Nations General Assembly were absent from this year’s General Assembly. US President Biden was the only one in attendance. The leaders of other countries prioritized domestic politics (in Russia’s case, leading the war) and saw no point in giving a speech at the UN General Assembly. Indian Prime Minister Modi was also absent.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gave his first face-to-face address at the United Nations, appealing for “unity to defeat the Russian aggressor.” However, compared to last year, when people participated by video, the number of attendees decreased, and empty seats were noticeable. This is also a sign of “fatigue with support” towards Ukraine.

Many developing countries were absent from the meeting because they did not want to become involved in the conflict between the United States and Russia.

More than a year and a half have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine, but there is no sign of a ceasefire in sight. The United Nations is unable to fulfill its function of maintaining peace. This dysfunction in the United Nations is what makes this year’s UN General Assembly so lackluster.

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The biggest problem is that Russia, a permanent member with veto power, is a party to the war. Any proposal that reflects the Western position of Ukraine or supporting countries will be shot down by Russia. China also often agrees with Russia’s claims. At least, I don’t agree with the Western argument.

Under this situation, the Security Council, which is responsible for maintaining international peace, cannot function.

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2023-09-22 21:00:00

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