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March 9, 2022

Reorganize the UN after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

For a tentative alternative for the UN Security Council paralyzed by Russia's veto right

The Russian aggression in Ukraine has triggered a worldwide debate on how the UN and other global governance systems should be changed. I for one will add one point to the discussion. But before doing so let me be clear with the following.

1) Even if Russia "wins" for now, it will not be able to keep control over Ukraine. After World War II, it took the Soviet Union three years to completely suppress the independence movement in western Ukraine. Russia alleges that "Ukraine is not a full-fledged country, being divided between East and West", it was only after the invasion of Nazi Germany in World War II that Russia, divided between erstwhile aristocrats and serfs, finally came to share a single national consciousness (even today, the "Great Patriotic War" is still a major source of Russian unity, alongside the Orthodox Church).

The Russian invasion and vandalism ironically have instilled a strong sense of national identity in Ukrainians. No matter how many refugees they send to Europe and how many remaining adult males they try to exterminate, they will not be able to do so, and even if they create a puppet government, they will not be able to sustain it.

2) Moreover, economic sanctions will damage the Russian economy like never before. The West is trying to make oil and natural gas, the source of Russia's wealth, irrelevant. China says it will buy them, but natural gas pipelines to Europe do not go to China, and oil is transported by tankers from ports in the Baltic and Black Seas, which is inefficient. And China is likely to buy them on the cheap.

(3) In the midst of all this, Russia will have a presidential election in 2024. With the ruble depreciating to less than one-half, inflation will have reached tens of percent. And in Ukraine, as in Afghanistan in the past, there will be constant deaths from guerrilla warfare.
In this milieu the siloviki and oligopolistic capitalists who have supported Putin will naturally consider replacing him before 2024. Even if Putin is replaced, the candidate of the Siloviki-Oligopoly alliance may be defeated in the election, if a Yeltsin-like populist emerges. In that case, Russia may advocate democratization and a market economy, but in reality, it will only bring the same chaos as in the Yeltsin era.

As stated above. In the medium term, Russia is not tenable. But the world must prepare for a few years before Russia fully succumbs. This could include a temporary replacement for the UN Security Council, in which Russia has veto power, by some "Gx" and use of an enlarged variant of the NATO to execute decisions by Gx.
In order to keep Russia in check, this type of discussion should be public and lively.

One point should additionally kept in mind: the confrontation scheme "Western alliance vs. Sino-Russian axis" may not hold now. China's stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine is unclear. It did not even acknowledge when Russia annexed Crimea, claiming that it was originally part of its territory (much like Taiwan), and now Russia is attacking Ukraine, a fully sovereign state, trying to topple its government.

China cannot openly support this. Moreover, China and Ukraine signed the "Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership" in 2011, so China will lose international credibility if it approves Russia's actions. In the Chinese sense, this would mean that "Russia, our little brother, has smeared our face with mud.

China will see the outcome of the war and ride the winning horse. If Russia loses and becomes the world's pariah, China will simply carry out the adage "beat the dog that fell into the water. Then, in what areas and to what extent China will be willing to rub elbows with the West will be a major factor in considering "post-Ukraine world governance.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) with reduction by the author