The impending Ukraine crisis is not just about Ukraine. That has been the Biden administration’s message from the outset: Any Russian aggression against its southern neighbor is not only an unacceptable violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty but also an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to challenge the international rules-based order. “The stakes go far beyond Ukraine,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told the U.N. Security Council last week. “This is a moment of peril for … the foundation of the United Nations Charter and the rules-based international order.”
The United States was systematically sidelining the U.N. long before Trump took the White House.
The Biden administration’s argument received an air of vindication Monday when Putin all but signaled his intent to invade Ukraine, prompting the White House on Tuesday to call Russia’s actions an “invasion.” Yet, despite its stated concern for the U.N. Charter and the rules-based international order, there is a conspicuous hole at the center of President Joe Biden’s Russia strategy.
Rather than upholding the current international order based on international law and the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the United States has itself systematically undermined the most central institutions of the current international system, all the while promoting its global primacy in the name of that very same rules-based order. Blinken admitted as much in an address to the U.N. last May: “I know that some of our actions in recent years have undermined the rules-based order and led others to question whether we are still committed to it.”
Blinken was, of course, referring to the actions of Donald Trump. But the United States was systematically sidelining the U.N. long before Trump took the White House. Neoconservatives and other hawks in the U.S. foreign policy establishment have long held that “American power, not the United Nations Security Council, provides peace and security for the rest of the world.” According to this logic, the United States should not allow the U.N., international treaties or norms to constrain American power. In fact, the thinking goes, America should actively break norms upheld by the United Nations to demonstrate to the world the hollowness of multilateral institutions and the near-omnipotence of American power.
Read the full article at MSNBC.com.