World View: Can Ban Ki-moon Prevent Russia from Destroying the United Nations?

World View: Can Ban Ki-moon Prevent Russia from Destroying the United Nations?

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Turkey’s warplanes shoot down Syrian helicopter
  • U.N. team finds ‘large scale’ use of sarin gas in Syria
  • Can Ban Ki-moon save the United Nations from Russia?
  • Why are so many German professors against the euro?

Turkey’s warplanes shoot down Syrian helicopter

 A destroyed Russian-made helicopter that belonged to the Syrian army is seen at the Minnigh military airport (Reuters)
A destroyed Russian-made helicopter that belonged to the Syrian army is seen at the Minnigh military airport (Reuters)

Turkey scrambled two F-16 jets on Monday and shot down a SyrianRussian-made Mi-17 helicopter after warning it that it wasapproaching Turkish airspace. The helicopter was shot down overTurkey’s airspace, but it landed in a ball of flames on the Syrianside of the border. It’s unknown what happened to the pilots, butreports indicate that Syrian anti-government rebels shot themdead after they ejected. 

In June of last year, Syrian forces shot down a Turkish air force jet (“23-Jun-12 World View — Syria shoots down Turkey’s air force jet”). A furious Turkish PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the rules of engagement hadchanged and that Turkey would use military force in response to anyincursion by Syrian aircraft. Zaman (Istanbul)

U.N. team finds ‘large scale’ use of sarin gas in Syria

A United Nations report concludes that on August 21, “chemical weaponshave been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in [Syria],also against civilians, including children, on a relatively largescale,” and that “surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerveagent sarin were used in the Ghouta area of Damascus.” 

According to U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon: 

The report makes for chilling reading. 

The results are overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak forthemselves. The United Nations Mission has now confirmed,unequivocally and objectively, that chemical weapons have beenused in Syria…

There must be accountability for the use of chemical weapons. Anyuse of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime. But ourmessage today must be more than: Do not slaughter your people withgas. There must also be no impunity for the crimes being committedwith conventional weapons. 

This is a war crime. This is the most significant confirmed use ofchemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used themin Halabja (Iraq) in 1988. The international community has aresponsibility to hold the perpetrators accountable and to ensurethat chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare. 

The international community has pledged to prevent any such horrorfrom recurring, yet it has happened again… 

It is for others to decide whether to pursue this matter furtherto determine responsibility. We may all have our own thoughts onthis, but I would simply say that this was a grave crime and thoseresponsible must be brought to justice as soon aspossible.

At Russia’s insistence, the U.N. team was forbidden from reaching anyconclusions about blame, but the report emphasizes the large volume ofchemical weapons that were used, that they were delivered bysophisticated rockets, and that the rockets were launched from placescontrolled by regime of president Bashar al-Assad. U.N. press release and Full U.N. Report (PDF)

Can Ban Ki-moon save the United Nations from Russia?

The laughable op-ed article by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin thatthe NY Times published last week contains the following: 

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate ofthe League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked realleverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass theUnited Nations and take military action without Security Councilauthorization.

The League of Nations collapsed because it was paralyzed in the 1930sby people like Vladimir Putin. Putin’s policy since the 2011 Libyaaction, as I’ve reported several times, has been to use the UnitedNations as a tool to control Barack Obama and cripple American foreignpolicy, and he’s been spectacularly successful since then (“22-Apr-11 News — Russia seeks to cripple Nato through Libya United Nations politics”).

So Putin, who massacres his own people in Chechnya, invades Georgiaand annexes two Georgian provinces, all “without Security Councilauthorization,” and who provides weapons to the psychopath Basharal-Assad to promote mass slaughter, mutilation, and murder of his owncitizens, now lectures Americans on morality and preserving the UnitedNations. 

Putin has used the United Nations to lead Barack Obama by the nose andrepeatedly humiliate him and the United States. In doing so, he’salso harmed the United Nations, making it look useless and impotent. 

And now it looks like Putin is going to do it again. The U.N. teamreport and Ban Ki-moon’s statements make it clear that Basharal-Assad’s regime launched horrific, massive sarin gas attack onSyrian civilians on August 21, a major crime against humanity. But onMonday, Putin’s representatives were going full steam denying that theU.N. report proves anything, and that the sarin gas attack waslaunched by opposition forces, even though that appears to bephysically impossible. They were saying that under no circumstanceswould they authorize military action against Syria, even though it wasonly the threat of American military action that got Russia and Syriato admit they had chemical weapons. But Putin isn’t interested in thetruth; he’s interested in crippling American foreign policy, using theUnited Nations as a tool. 

Putin’s actions make this an existential crisis for the United Nationsitself. Ban Ki-moon must realize this, which is why, I believe, heused such strident, condemnatory language in his statements on Monday,going right up to the line of accusing the Bashar al-Assad regime ofnew crimes against humanity, though not crossing it. 

In fact, I’m not so sure that what happened on Friday was an accident.As I reported (“14-Sep-13 World View — Ban Ki-moon accidentally tells the truth about Syria”), Ban was giving a talk to a women’s group at theUnited Nations that was supposed to be private. But in fact hisstatement, which accused the Bashar al-Assad regime of “many crimesagainst humanity,” was broadcast throughout the U.N. building. Wasthis all truly an accident? Why was Ban making a statement like thatto a women’s group? Could he really have been surprised that thecameras were rolling? 

Right now, Putin is controlling the United Nations agenda andcrippling American foreign policy. I believe Ban is well awareof this and is looking for ways to take control away from theRussians. Because if Russia is able to prevent any consequences tofollow from al-Assad’s truly monstrous and gigantic crimes againsthumanity, then nobody will trust the United Nations again. Russia Todayand Jamestown

Why are so many German professors against the euro?

The arch-conservative Philip Plickert has a revealing comment inFrankfurter Allgemeine explaining why so many German professors hatethe euro. The reason is largely psychological. Many of them had warnedagainst the adoption of a single currency in the 1990s but wereignored at the time by Helmut Kohl, who considered them technicalmorons with no sense of the political and historical understanding ofthe project. It is no surprise, therefore, that they are offended now.EuroIntelligence and Frankfurter Allgemeine (Trans)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Damascus, United Nations,Ban Ki-Moon, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Georgia, Chechnya,Germany, euro 

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