Sunday, February 11, 2018

The end of the UN’s world order ? Le Monde diplomatique

The current chaos began in the 1990s, when the 1945 UN charter was overridden by a new interventionist ideology.
The global chaos that the media like to depict — micro-conflicts, mass migration, terrorist bombings and massacres of civilians, with major powers like Russia, Turkey and Trump’s America cynically pursuing their own interests — goes back to the early 1990s. The fall of the Berlin Wall seemed to herald an age of happy globalisation under US auspices, and western intervention in the first Gulf war still fitted the UN framework; but in the 1990s the US attempted to impose new rules. Kosovo, in 1999, was a test, as those pursuing it attempted to establish an official right to interfere in internal affairs. The vision of happy globalisation peaked with the 2011 intervention in Libya, which revealed dangerous contradictions.

The international order established in 1945 has faced many crises, but its basis remains the humanist social principles of the Philadelphia conference on social rights (1944) and the San Francisco conference on prohibition of war (1945), which led to the creation of the UN. Yet the current instability is global, and ideological as much as economic. While the financial crises of 1998 and 2008 could be viewed as blips, the election of Donald Trump is a challenge to free trade dogma from inside its US heartland, and foreshadows the destruction of social rights. The impression of chaos also comes from the changing balance of power, with new powers rising while others stand still, and from the continual modification of the rules of the international game, which began in the 1990s and is being challenged today.

From 1945 to the 1990s, the rules were defined by the UN charter. The powerful often used their veto, or that of their protectors, to get around the rules and intervene militarily in their areas of influence: the Soviet Union in eastern Europe, the US in central America, France in Africa, Israel among its immediate neighbours. But they did not try to change the rules, or invent new ones, and took care to not to infringe (...) - Read More

Le Monde diplomatique - English edition


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