Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 24, 2023, presiding over the United Nations Security Council.

Russia and China have far superior armaments to those of the West. The former has won the war in Syria and is preparing to win in Ukraine. Despite its best efforts, Nato, which has already failed in the Middle East by proxy jihadists, is unable to reverse the reality on the battlefield.

The way of thinking of the former colonial powers leads them to imagine that Russia and China will use their military superiority to impose their way of life on the rest of the world. But that is not their intention at all and that is not what they are doing.

Moscow and Beijing are constantly calling for the application of international law. Nothing more. The Russians want peace at home, while the Chinese hope to trade everywhere.

The events in Ukraine have made us forget Russia’s repeated demands since 2007: it demands its own security guarantees, in particular the absence of arsenals belonging to third countries stored on its neighbour’s territory. Russia does not have the means to defend its borders, the largest in the world. Therefore, it cannot ensure its security if enemy armies are massing on several fronts on its borders, except by practicing the "scorched earth strategy" of Marshal Fedor Rostopchin. This is the meaning of all the negotiations for the reunification of Germany. The USSR was opposed to this, unless the New Germany undertook not to store Nato weapons in the East. This was the meaning of all the negotiations with the former Warsaw Pact states. And this was also the meaning of the negotiations with all the states of the former USSR. Moscow has never been opposed to a state choosing its allies and eventually joining NATO. It has always objected if joining NATO implied the installation of NATO weapons stocks on its territory.

Moscow was not satisfied until 1999, when 30 OSCE member states signed the Istanbul Declaration, known as the "Charter for Security in Europe", which sets out two major principles :
• the right of each State to choose the allies of its choice and
• the duty of each State not to threaten the security of others in ensuring its own.

It was the violation of these principles, and it alone, that led to the Ukrainian conflict. This was the meaning of President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, where he denounced the failure to comply with OSCE commitments and the establishment of a "monopoly" governance of the world.

The West, which considered Russia to be a bankrupt country, agreed that it was right, but laughed at its impotence. They were wrong: Russia has risen up and overtaken them. Today, she uses her strength to make us respect the principles we have sworn to uphold, not to impose her way of thinking on us.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West has neglected the commitments it made during the Cold War in order to build a "New World Order", as Margaret Thatcher and George Bush Sr. put it; a New World Order "based on rules" that the West itself defined. We have thus accumulated violations of our engagements and, consequently, of international law.

There is a fundamental incompatibility between International Law, which originated at the Hague Conference of 1899, and Anglo-Saxon Law: International Law is a positive convention. It is elaborated by unanimity. That is, it is accepted by each of those who apply it. On the contrary, Anglo-Saxon law is based on custom. It is therefore always behind the evolution of the world and privileges those who have dominated it.

Since 1993, Westerners have begun to replace, one by one, all international treaties to rewrite them in Anglo-Saxon law. Madeleine Albright, who then represented the United States under President Bill Clinton on the UN Security Council, was the daughter of Professor Josef Korbel. This Czech diplomat, who became a professor at the University of Denver, taught that the best way for the United States to dominate the world was not to conquer it militarily, but to make it adopt its own legal system, as the British Crown had done in its empire. After serving as ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright became Secretary of State. When President George W. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton, it was Josef Korbel’s adopted daughter, Condoleezza Rice, who took his place after the Colin Powell interlude. In practice, for two decades the West has patiently destroyed international law and imposed its rules, to the point where it now arrogates to itself the emphatic title of "International Community".

On March 21, 2023, in Moscow, the Russian and Chinese presidents, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, agreed on a common strategy to ensure the triumph of international law. In their minds, it is neither more nor less than dismantling everything that Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice have achieved.

Russia, which held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in April, decided to hold an open debate on the theme: "Maintaining international peace and security: effective multilateralism based on the defence of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter".

The session, chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was not intended to unpack the dirty laundry accumulated since the demise of the Soviet Union, but to begin to mobilize as many states as possible. In the framework note (S/2023/244), circulated by Russia before the debate, Moscow explained how the Western unipolar order was replacing international law. It also warned about the role of non-governmental actors, the so-called "NGOs", in this arrangement. He also emphasized that making human rights a criterion of good governance and not an objective to be achieved, transforms them into a political weapon and seriously harms their improvement. Generally speaking, international tribunals are used to say what is right and not what is wrong. They are no longer used to resolve disputes, but rather to create hierarchies; to divide and not to unite. The Note concluded with a series of questions including: "What could be done to restore the culture of dialogue and consensus within the [United Nations] Organisation, including the Security Council? What is the best way to demonstrate that the current situation, marked by a selective approach to the norms and principles of international law, including the Charter, is unacceptable and cannot continue?

The intervention of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres of Portugal, did not allow for any progress. He limited himself to presenting the future program of the United Nations. The large number of participants in the debate then divided into three groups.

Russia praised the UN Charter and deplored its evolution over the past thirty years. It pleaded for equality between all sovereign states and denounced the exorbitant power of the West and its unipolar organization. It recalled that the special military operation in Ukraine was the consequence of a coup d’état, in 2014 in Kiev, and that therefore the problem was not Ukraine, but the way we conduct international relations. In passing, Russia warned the UN Secretary General and reminded him of his duty of impartiality. It stressed that if the documents of the next summits of the Organization do not respect this principle, they will divide the world a little more instead of uniting it.

The Group of Friends for the Defense of the UN Charter and the Group of 77 have taken up the Russian approach.

A second group, composed of Westerners, repeatedly deflected the debate to the Ukrainian issue, refusing to take into account the Maidan coup, emphasizing the violence of the Russian "invasion" and recalling its human price.

A third group fired sharper arrows. Pakistan denounced the notion of "networked multilateralism" as contrary to an international order of sovereign and equal states. It also rejected any prospect of a "unipolar, bipolar or even multipolar world if it is to be dominated by a few ultra-powerful states. Ethiopia and Egypt denounced the role of non-state actors in the world.

While Russia and China had reminded various delegations before the debate of the international treaties that the New World Order is blatantly violating, there was no mention of specific cases in this debate, with the exception of Ukraine, which was addressed by the West.

However, one must anticipate the multiple claims of non-Westerners, i.e. governments representing 87% of the world’s population.

• Finland committed itself in writing in 1947 to remain neutral. Its membership in Nato is therefore a violation of its own signature.
• the Baltic States committed themselves in writing, when they were created in 1990, to preserve the monuments honouring the sacrifices of the Red Army. The destruction of these monuments is therefore a violation of their own signature.
• the United Nations passed Resolution 2758 on October 25, 1971, recognizing that Beijing, not Taiwan, is the sole legitimate representative of China. As a result, Chiang Kai-shek’s government was expelled from the Security Council and replaced by Mao Zedong’s. Therefore, for example, the recent Chinese naval manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait do not constitute an aggression against a sovereign state, but a free deployment of its forces in its own territorial waters.
• the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty committed signatory states not to transfer nuclear weapons to a third country. However, as part of NATO, the United States has transferred tactical (not strategic) nuclear bombs to some of its overseas bases. In addition, it has trained foreign military personnel to use them. This is a violation of their signature by the United States as well as by Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
• etc, etc.

Ultimately, what we in the "West" have to fear from Russia and China is that they will force us to be ourselves and honour our word.

Roger Lagassé