Despite President Trump’ calls for a UN reform, the US is not ready for its power to be restrained, believes Valdai Club expert Shen Dingli. Under such circumstances, Russia, as well as China and other likely-minded powers, ought to collaborate to uphold the UN principle and practice.
Yes, the UN should be reformed, so as to match the change of international relations. With the rise of the new economies, their voice in the world organization has to be better represented. Consequently, this means the redistribution of power in the UN, which would affect the established ones, especially the P5. It is likely that none of them would be interested in the reform that would potentially undercut their power.
What President Trump has called for is two-folded. First, he has asked for enhancing the efficiency of the UN. For this professed purpose, there is no reason why other countries could not agree with him. The UN Secretary General has agreed with him to get rid of the system’s bureaucracy. Indeed, one has to manage the UN more effectively to help address various issues facing the world.
United Nations at a Moment of Crisis
The UN is, along with the world, at a moment of crisis. While American tensions with its two fellow Security Council members have grown under the erratic new incumbent of the White House, their origins predate him.
Second, Trumps expects a more efficient UN to respond to the US needs. This has raised a lot of controversies. Actually, the United Nations system shall respond to America if Washington would act on the UN Charter. Nevertheless, America has often made moves bypassing or even against the UN. For instance, President George W. Bush sent armed forces into Iraq without any evidence to qualify a military preemption or receiving UN approval. President Trump himself has ordered to quit Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is a UN-mandated international cooperation to sustain the earth environment.
Certainly, the UN could not meet any US need, whenever Washington is indulged in “America First”. Should American nationalism go against global interests, the UN shall stand firm to resist, rather than to be “reformed” to tailor the US demands.Obviously, President Trump is not ready for the UN to be reformed, with the opposite consequence of America’s own power to be restrained. Under such circumstances, Russia, as well as China and other likely-minded powers, ought to collaborate to uphold the UN principle and practice. As an independent global power, Moscow has quite some track record to check and balance America on world issues. It is understandable that Russia would not follow the US on the UN reform at this time, given his administration’s banner of “America First”.