Sunday, February 12, 2012

South Africa’s UN vote on Syria

While the world was fixated on pointing a shameful finger at China and Russia over their vetoes of the UN resolution urging Bashir al-Assad to step down, South Africa had a very complicated tightrope to walk.

 South Africa voted with the majority in supporting the resolution, but cautioned that the Syrian people should be allowed to determine their own fate including leadership without the intervention of outside foreign powers. They voted for the resolution ultimately because they felt the resolution was not aimed at advocating Syrian regime change.

Developing nations like South Africa, India, and Brazil used the resolution vote to raise concerns about human rights violations in Syria, while expressing misgivings about foreign intervention in the wake of the NATO action in Libya.

These developing powers can hedge their votes in this way because of their positions as non veto holders. In this way, they have advocated the interests of Western Europe and The United States, while heeding the concerns of Russia and China about intervention.

The only question I have is “How long can developing powers play this role”?

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