75th anniversary of the United Nations
This week, the 75th anniversary of the United Nations took place, this time remotely, and the dominant themes were the pandemic and its respective management on a global level, as well as the tensions between the US and China.
At a time when the world is going through a somber phase, plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic and its political and socio-economic consequences, António Guterres characterized the pandemic as “not only a wake-up call” but “a dress rehearsal” for challenges to come. Guterres also mentioned that the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities and inequalities on a global level and “generated ‘an epochal health crisis’, the biggest economic and job losses since the Great Depression, and dangerous new threats to human rights, among other challenges.” According to him, in the face of such a challenge it would be necessary to end “’vaccinationalism’, as countries are reportedly making “side deals” for their own populations, a fact which may foster inequality in the international sphere and in the access that countries will have to the vaccine.
Regarding tensions between the US and China, both presidents, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, addressed the Assembly of Nations virtually, with antagonistic views of what both countries represent in the international sphere. The Chinese president, on one hand, pictured China as a global and responsible actor in the international arena and in the United Nations, having emphasized his commitment in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, for which a bigger multilateral effort and cooperation would be necessary. He also referred to the pandemic as an issue that should not be politicized by states, in an allusion to the criticism that president Donald Trump has been levying at China’s management of the pandemic and its transparency.
On the other hand, Donald Trump referred to Covid-19 as “the Chinese virus”, attributing the blame for the spreading of the virus to China, as well as mentioning the the WHO is controlled by China. Trump restated his unilateral vision of the International System, in which the US are the global hegemon, affirming that other states should follow the American example and place their own citizens first.
The political crisis in Lebanon worsens
The designated prime-minister of Lebanon, Mustapha Adib, resigned this Saturday, after a month of unsucessful efforts to achieve a non-partisan cabined, leaving the country closer to total collapse.
Adib was supported by the French state, and he tried to form a cabinet comprised of independent specialists who might be able to work in implementing reforms. This process became particularly complex due to the fact that, as per the sectarian political system in Lebanon, a Sunni Muslim must occupy the role of prime minister, whereas the presidency should be occupied by a Maronite Christian, and the President of the Parliament should be a Shia Muslim.
Adib’s announcement deals a blow to French President Macron’s efforts to break the political impasse in the country. To name an official for the role of finance minister was the hardest task, as the main Shia Muslim groups in the country – Hamal and Hezbollah -, insisted in maintaining control over the ministry of finance.
- Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, mentioned that the chances of extending the new START treaty with the United States are low. In case a consensus is not reached for its extension, one of the fundamental pillars for the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons between both powers will be broken.
- The European Union imposed sanctions on a shipping company which was accused of breaking the UN arms embargo to Libya, whose ship was involved in a naval accident between NATO members France and Turkey in June.
- China and India agreed not to send more troops to the disputed border in Ladakh, after a meeting between military leaders from both countries.
- Beijing is transferring a growing number of Tibetan rural workers to recently built military training centers, where they are made into factory workers.
- The United States are reportedly working on a way to make F-35 stealth fighters visible to Israeli radar systems, after having been sold to the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to ensure Israel has the biggest qualitative advantage in the region.
- Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, stated that the European Union needs to create a new system that is capable of responding to the migrant issue, and that the system currently in place is insufficient, using the fire in Lesbos as an example and a reminder of the need to act.
- This week, Ukraine undertook military exercises in response to the Caucasus-2020 exercises, the biggest in Russia, with the goal of displaying the capabilities of the Ukrainian army.
- The Energy Ministers of the UAE and Israel discussed possible opportunities for cooperation and investment, including natural gas exports to Europe. These discussions took place following the agreement between these two countries for the normalization of diplomatic relations.
- BNP Paribas was charged by Paris prosecutors of allegedly being an accomplice in the practice of crimes against humanity in Sudan.
- Two people were seriously injured this Friday in Paris, after having been stabbed closed to the old office of the satire publication Charlie Hebdo, in what authorities called an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, following attempts at de-escalation in the previous weeks.