(I didn’t even mention it in this space, but last week marked the 20th anniversary of my arrival in Denmark. The milestone was commemorated over on the Nagan Of Copenhagen Substack.)
On Saturday, taxpayer-funded Danmarks Radio (DR) ran an article about Russia assuming the presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of April.
Given the dateline of the article, one of the first orders of business was to inform readers that “it’s not an April Fools gag, just part of the routine.” The presidency rotates among the council’s fifteen members.
The article seeks to explain to its readers why this routine was established, including what the Security Council is, how it operates, and why. Then it explains why Russia’s presidency this month is awkward but insignificant.
There’s nothing objectionable in the article itself, but I was troubled by an inset entitled “What is the UN Security Council?”
Here it is in its entirety.
What is the UN Security Council?
The UN Security Council is the most powerful body in the UN and has the main responsibility for the UN’s work to maintain peace and security in the world.
The Security Council has 15 members. Of them, five are permanent members, while ten are elected by the UN General Assembly for two years at a time.
The United States, China, Russia, Great Britain and France are permanent members. They have sat on the Security Council since 1945 and are not up for election.
The permanent members have the right of veto, which means that if one of the permanent members votes against a proposal, the proposal cannot be adopted.
All countries in the world are obliged to do as the Security Council says.
That’s some doozy, that fifth bullet.
If you consult the source being cited—the UN.dk website, and presumably its page about the Security Council—the wording isn’t much different: “Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.”
And, indeed, Article 25 of the 1945 U.N. Charter’s Chapter V is a single declarative sentence: “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.”
There was a time, decades ago, when I knew that. A time when I wasted a lot of breath railing against the anti-democratic nature of an agreement that made the free citizens of sovereign states effective vassals of international agreements.
And now I’ve reached the point where I didn’t even remember that we all gotta do what the U.N. Security Council says. I’m therefore genuinely glad to have received this reminder, because it’s past time we all got back to the business of railing against it.
Chatper V, Article 24 of the Charter lays out the functions and powers of the U.N.
- In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
- In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
- The Security Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.
The Security Council’s mandate is limited to issues of war and peace. It’s not hard to imagine why the people of 1945 would have supported such an organization and entrusted it with such a mission.
But consider this U.N. press release from just 16 months ago:
Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution Integrating Climate-Related Security Risk into Conflict-Prevention Strategies
Speakers Disagree on Text, Appropriate Forum to Tackle Climate Change Issues
The Security Council today, in a contentious meeting, rejected a draft resolution that would have integrated climate‑related security risk as a central component of United Nations conflict‑prevention strategies aiming to help counter the risk of conflict relapse.
In a recorded vote of 12 in favour to 2 against (India, Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (China), the Council — acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations — rejected the draft owing to the negative vote by a permanent member of the Council.
Long story short: on 13 December 2021, the Security Council tried to vote climate change into the Security Council’s mandate. It was only prevented from doing so by the Russian veto. (I’d guess the Chinese abstention was only made with the understanding that Russia would do the dirty work of issuing the actual veto.)
We dodged a hell of a bullet there.
The U.N. is already overflowing with climate agencies and instruments: the only reason anyone wants climate “security” incorporated into the Security Council is the aforementioned Article 25.
They want the power of coercion.
Don’t let’s ever give it to them.
If you’ve been following American news, you know that federal and state powers have recently begun busying themselves with the banning of gas-powered cars, gas stoves, and incandescent light bulbs, among other things. The bans will doubtless continue until moral improves.
It’s one thing for the democratically elected representatives of a given city, state, or nation to impose such restrictions using the policy tools allocated to them. It’s quite another to have a gaggle of international diplomats telling the whole world what they can and can’t do.
It’s one thing to establish an international body with a mission of preventing war. It’s quite another to give it the power to issue global mandates in the name of something as vague and ambiguous as “climate change.”
We hear a lot from western leaders about the growing conflict between democracy and authoritarianism. (See for example “The time has come to bring the world’s democracies together” in yesterday’s Berlingske Tidende.) Certainly there’s a big and obvious conflict between the democracies of the west and authoritarian states like Russia and China. That’s the headline conflict.
But underneath that, on the same bill, the conflict between authoritarianism and individualism is also playing out across the west, except it’s leftists pushing for authoritarianism: they want to control virtually every aspect of our lives—what we eat, what we drive, where we drive, how we cook, how we heat our homes, how we travel, how we carry our groceries, what words we use—and consider any pushback to be madness, insurrection, or treason.
In other words, the very same people who are patting each other on the back for standing up to the authoritarianism of Russia, and for pretending to stand up to the authoritarianism of China, will turn right around and insist we surrender more of our own individual sovereignty to their control—in our own best interests, of course. They give speeches in which their authoritarianism and our desire for sovereignty are twisted around to suggest that we’re the authoritarians and they’re the champions of freedom. Joe Biden does it routinely. Reflexively.
The driving impetus of the so-called populist right across the western world right now is the desire be left the hell alone: to shrink government back to the point where its citizens can shape their own lives rather than have them shaped by distant unelected bureaucrats. To be governed by people we’ve elected and who are answerable to us, and who do their business somewhere we can keep an eye on them, rather than submitting to the whims of faceless mandarins in distant capitals.
Just like the Hobbits wanted to be left alone in their Shire.
It’s not a right-left thing. It’s an individualist-collectivist thing. A localist-globalist thing.
The collectivist-globalists are winning at the moment but they know they face an uphill battle. They also clearly know that Article 25 of the U.N. Charter is the One Ring to Rule Them All, and the December 2021 vote was their first attempt to grab hold of their Precious.
It won’t be their last.
Frodo Baggins, call your office. . .