US, Russia Are Blocking UN Push for Global Ceasefire

UN Secretary-General calls on world to focus on coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to create a global crisis of generational proportions, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is pushing a broad measure to declare a global ceasefire among all nations, allowing the world to focus on fighting the virus instead of one another.

The proposal has got a lot of interest internationally, but is falling just short of going into effect, with the United States and Russia both insisting they wouldn’t consider themselves bound by any such ceasefire for their wars.

The US is complaining that the ceasefire would hinder their wars against ISIS and other groups that they believe are hostile to US interests. Given the number of US wars around the world, that’s a substantial number of conflicts. Among primary interests is the US ability to attack Iraqi militias in the near future.

Its not just America’s many wars that America believes would be at stake, but also Israel’s intermittent attacks on Syria and other nations, with US objections including that no ceasefire can be allowed to inhibit Israel’s ability to launch unilateral attacks.

Russia’s complaints were similar but more narrow, focused on wanting to keep their military activities in Syria ongoing, and not wanting the international ceasefire to get in the way of Libya’s Civil War, in which Russia is supported Gen. Hafter’s forces.

In general, it can be expected that neither Russia or the US will go along with this unless the other agrees first. The support among other global powers is more promising, with France advocating the ceasefire outspokenly. China seems on board as well, though they balked at an initial version of the resolution when the US wanted to call coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus,” implying China is to blame.

Ceasefire support in Colombia, Sudan, Yemen, and the Philippines has seen some agreement and unilateral announcements, and the UN remains hopeful. Without the US and Russia, however, it will be difficult for it to become a global movement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.