Kazakhstan, after a month as the chair of the UN Security Council, has passed the baton to Kuwait. This is the time to pause and ponder. — During the one month of chairmanship in January 2018, Kazakhstan managed to accomplish more than what some members of the Security Council achieved over the years.
January 2018 will remain in history as one of the most turbulent months for international relations, at least in the recent past. In the four weeks since the beginning of the New Year, the already simmering tension between Russia and the United States worsened, following the introduction of new sanctions by the latter. In Afghanistan, several of the most deadly terrorist attacks occurred in recent years. In the Middle East, another aggravation occurred – Turkey launched a full-scale military operation against the Kurds in Syria. And on the Korean peninsula against the backdrop of the upcoming Olympics, the nuclear threat of the DPRK has taken on quite different, global outlines, even despite some warming of relations between Seoul and Pyongyang.
All of these topics, Kazakhstan, from the position of the President of the UN Security Council, did not ignore. Only on the situation in the Middle East in the Council passed four meetings. In general, the members of the Security Council met more than 20 times during the round table. And always the topics of these meetings were relevant for all: from the same Middle East, which because of permanent instability became the hotbed of terrorism, which today beats all countries of the world to the danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which reached an extreme point in the conditions of the Korean crisis.
As a remark – usually not all events in the world are brought to the agenda of the UN Security Council. This happens at the discretion of the Security Council members, well, or, in fact, its Chairman. Recently, especially often the UN Security Council has become just an arena for clarifying the relationship between its individual representatives. This sometimes determined its agenda.
Kazakhstan was trying to bring to the discussion really important topics that are common to all threats and risks, which sometimes do not register the country’s bilateral exchanges. The same – threat from Afghanistan. It only seems regional. And one would agree that Afghanistan in recent years has become the world leader in the production of heroin, and drugs grown on Afghan fields in long ways and intricate schemes are delivered to black markets of various countries in Europe and America. And it is known that Afghanistan over the years of the conflict has become an exporter of not only drugs, but also terrorism, as well as the above-mentioned Middle East. And this is also a common problem. Since 2000, the number of terrorist attacks in the world has increased 10-fold. And only in one year in 2016 militants committed attacks in 104 countries – this is more than half of the world. And now remember how often you meet the mention of Afghanistan in the news tape and news shows on TV? Against the backdrop of sanctions wars, political skirmishes and arms race, it somehow faded on the world agenda. Meanwhile, the threat there has become even more ambitious. Expelled from Iraq and Syria, ISIS fighters are looking for a new outpost in the region. And judging by the growing number of radicals in Afghanistan – they found it.
A separate session of the Security Council was devoted to Afghanistan. And, it seems, official Astana still managed to draw the attention of Security Council members to this problem. This seems to be the case, judging by the fact that representatives of the UN Security Council countries visited Afghanistan for the first time since 2010. From 13 to 15 January, a delegation of ambassadors from all 15 members of the Council visited Kabul to assess the situation on the spot and draw conclusions, which, alas, are sad and require urgent measures.
And one more issue that became central during the Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the UN Security Council was the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Again, the topic has already become almost everyday occurrence. Countries are being measured by nuclear arsenals and “red buttons”, and the world, already accustomed to it, is quietly watching this. It seems that the nuclear threat is something ephemeral and has little connection with reality. And only those countries that have experienced the consequences of using WMD understand that the rapidly growing nuclear threat in the world bears a real catastrophe.
But the world does not yet understand this. That same “red button” remains a symbol of the power of the country and the main argument in the dispute. And hoping to win the same power, many countries are trying to acquire WMD, follow the example of nuclear powers, which although formally call on their colleagues to demilitarize, but they do not hurry to abandon their lethal arsenals. And who will follow the calls, if the one who calls on them does not follow?
And here, after all, it is important to understand that it’s not even the amount of weapons of mass destruction in the world (and it is objectively growing), and not even in the geography of its spread. The very fact of its presence is important. And due protection is not always exercised. As the President of Kazakhstan rightly noted, when speaking at the UN Security Council, the increase in the number of countries possessing WMD creates the risk that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists; real bandits, with whom it is not always possible to agree. For them, WMD can be an opportunity to take revenge for the lost struggle with the use of conventional weapons. And then everyone will suffer, regardless of status, availability of arsenals and militaristic beliefs.
That is, the nonproliferation of WMD today is, in fact, a matter of the survival of mankind. And this massage Kazakhstan, having taken advantage of the main tribune of the world, tried to convey to the world. And it was not just an appeal, but in the best traditions of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy – a detailed plan, as today, to minimize the nuclear threat. In particular, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to work out a really practicable mechanism for punishment for the acquisition and distribution of WMD, and also to complicate the withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which remains somehow, but still an element of deterrence in the world.
And for these measures to really work, Kazakhstan urged the countries to begin, at last, a dialogue, and not dangerous squabbles, and trust each other. Here it is, most important – Trust, which is so lacking in modern international relations; the trust that could solve all the conflicts and crises in the world; the trust that would make weapons of mass destruction completely unnecessary and useless. You can be a successful and authoritative state even without it. Kazakhstan proves this every day by its own example.
The chairmanship of the UN Security Council is sometimes very recklessly considered a formality. But the experience of Kazakhstan shows that the only question here is who and how is coming to the point. And judging by the fact that, although in this particular month the meetings of the Security Council did not involve disputes and disputes, and all resolutions were unanimously adopted, Kazakhstan approached the matter very carefully and responsibly. Now it is the turn of the world community to show great responsibility for its own future. /// nCa, 27 February 2018