We’ll start with the obvious: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a criminal. Not just a war criminal but a good old murderer guilty of homeland invasion. Would that he could be held accountable by some type of international tribunal but that simply isn’t going to happen. The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction because Russia withdrew from the accord in 2016 when the ICC began an investigation into Russian actions in the Crimea. Ukraine is also not a member of the treaty group that sanctioned the ICC. Well, what about the International Court of Justice? Nope, there’s no provision for investigating aggression because the member states that enabled the ICJ could not agree on a definition of aggression.
Well then what about that august group that occupies a whole lot of very valuable real estate in New York, Vienna, Geneva and Rome? You know, the United Nations, the group that was founded to stop exactly what Russia is doing to Ukraine. Well, it seems that everything that happens in the United Nations must go through the Security Council and Russia being one of the five permanent members of the SC has veto authority on any action proposed. So, even a 14-1 vote in the SC would not go forward.
Does that mean, then, that Russia and Putin cannot be punished for killing civilians in an unjustified invasion of a sovereign nation? Pretty much yes it does.
But what about this scenario? There has been some question as to whether Russia is actually the successor state to the Soviet Union when it comes to membership in the U.N. The Soviet Union had three votes including the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Belarus. Why isn’t Ukraine the successor state or Belarus. Thus, there is a legitimate question as to whether Russia should actually occupy a permanent seat on the Security Council. Now here’s my proposal: A really strong U.S. move within the U.N. calling into question the legitimacy of Russia on the SC. The U.S. should press hard for a commission to review the facts and make recommendations about the matter. International lawyers should delve into the original charter to ensure such replacement of one of the original members is allowed and whether Russia is actually the entity that should occupy the chair. Now, of course, while such an investigation is underway Russia should be suspended from its membership on the SC and we’ve seen what can happen when Russia is not there. (Consider the U.N. action on assisting South Korea.)
This action should not be entrusted to (can you name the current U.S. ambassador to the U.N.?) nor even to the mild-mannered, little voice of the U.S. Secretary of State. This is where strong leadership, the ability to carry an argument, is needed. This is a job for the President of the United States. Carrying this off would indeed restore faith in U.S. world leadership and help stop suffering and aggression for the U.N. could then move against Russia, blocking oil exports, military exports and multinational agreements with other states, et cetera.
While writing this blog I keep seeing Putin’s face in my mind and I was trying to classify it. Then it struck me that Putin looks a lot like what I imagine Napoleon looked like at the end of Animal Farm when he had taken to walking on two legs. There’s a certain resemblance about the eyes, nose and ears as well. Hey, it’s just a thought.