Today the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met over an alarming biological terror attack in the heart of The United Kingdom.
What started out as an assassination attempt, believed to have been perpetrated by Moscow, on a former MI-6 asset, Sergei Skripal, turned into a full-blown chemical weapons attack affecting hundreds of British citizens. There’s not much faith in the UNSC these days but it’s the place where grievances are documented and Britain most certainly has a legitimate grievance.
U.K. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Allen addressed the council, “This was no ordinary crime”. Next Ambassador Haley spoke (Video Here) laying out the case that this isn’t an isolated incident and even taking the time to mention that everyone is getting tired of talking about Russia’s activity. But she also pointed out that Russia keeps giving the international community something to talk about.
Her most chilling statement was “The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable” something that is dangerously close to reality. After that, France took its time to say it “will never accept impunity” where chemical and biological weapons are concerned.
It was a unified front from the core of the North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO). France, Britain, and The United States have a very special relationship. America is young in the grand scheme of history, but both France and Britain made the United States the power that it is today.
The special U.K./U.S. relationship is real. Britain is like America’s mom, we have siblings Canada, Australia, and India while France is like that cool aunt who let you taste her beer at barbecues. Being the oldest we left home first and when we decided to leave, our aunt let us crash on her couch (thanks, Auntie Lafayette). This is a simplified and condensed version but the point is Russia is accused of attacking America’s mom and France’s sister.
After the solidarity shown by the core of NATO, other countries spoke about condemning chemical weapons and expressed concern but some, like the ambassador from Kazakhstan, said we shouldn’t rush to hasty decisions. China was pretty benign and safe in its statement.
Finally, Russia spoke demanding transparency wanting the closed council meeting on the evidence to be changed to an open forum. Questioning why the UK has brought it to the UNSC in the first place at one point claiming the UK is afraid to have the open discussion. When the Russian delegation brought up the deadline given by British Prime Minister Theresa May they said simply, “We do not speak the language of ultimatums”. The speech was a series of deflections, demands, accusations, and veiled threats but the cherry on top was the Russian Ambassador sarcastically implying that Ambassador Haley was now a chemical scientist. Classy.
The UNSC has had zero success in curbing Russian hostility across the globe. Moscow appears to operate with impunity and if the world is to take their signals at the UN at face value Russia has no intentions of dialing it back. If nothing else, the core of Western power showed a unified front which has been a change in optics over the last few years, with the Obama White House shrinking from its global role and the Trump administration struggling to find a singular message abroad.
Moscow is entangled in destabilizing operations all over the planet and even if they merely allowed the nerve agent to fall into the hands of a non-state actor it is clear it is well past the time to bring Moscow to heel.