Why does the UN feel they can influence Russia's actions regarding Ukraine?

I’ve seen several news articles on this, describing how the Crimea region basically is part of Russia…it was only handed over administratively to Ukraine as a gift. It would be like if the USA and Canada were part of the same empire, and we loaned Alaska to Canada. After the “breakup”, Canada wants to go shack up with another empire, and we want our Alaska back. The overwhelming majority of people in Alaska see themselves as “Americans” and are completely for this.

So why is the UN bleating about this matter? “International Law” is just an arbitrary list of rules the powerful and wealthy members of the UN made up after WWII. It has no teeth and questionable legitimacy.

Any real economic sanctions would involve ceasing the sales of natural gas and oil to Europe…which would presumably screw over the EU about as much as it hurts Russia.

Also, China wouldn’t go along with the sanctions, and this would probably lower the price of the gas sold to China, giving them an even bigger economic advantage than they have already.

My guess is they just want to avoid people blaming them for doing nothing. So they have to do “something,” even if it has no effect. That’s pretty much how the U.N. works.

Would you mind linking to those articles and citing the statements in your OP?

A few things:

  1. I’m not sure it’s an “overwhelming majority” of people in Crimea that see themselves as Russian (depending on your idea of “overwhelming”).

  2. International law might be “just an arbitrary list of rules the powerful and wealthy members of the UN made up after WWII” but the only thing that makes any law a law is that enough people (especially powerful people) say it’s so. And Russia tends to be quite vocal in the UN about the respecting sovereignty and non-intervention thing, so it’s reasonable for other members to do the same.

The first thing I object to is your assertion that Crimea is basically a part of Russia. If you look through history you’ll see that it was historically a part of the Ottoman Emprie, so you could just as well say that it should “basically” be a part of Turkey. Politically those boundaries were really only fixed after World War I, so Russia really only had possession of the penninsula for 35 years - certainly less than Ukraine’s last 60 years. If you want to claim Russia has any further interest, you’d better be willing to support the re-establishment of the Russian Empire and the Romanov dynasty.

Georgraphically Crimea is connected to land only through Ukraine.

And your Alaska analogy is flawed. The situation is more like the U.S. deciding to renew its claim for the land north of the 49th Parallel, despite it having surrendered all claim in the Oregon Treaty. Ask the folks in Vancouver how they’d like that.

As far as international law being an arbitrary list of rules, it exists because the people who make up the rules agree to follow them. That includes Russia. What would your alternative be?

Basically this. The UN is mainly a forum for useless political theater. It was designed that way, and has performed its job flawlessly.

In the now infamous phone call between Victoria Nuland at the State Department and the US Ambassador to the Ukraine she explicitly plans to get the UN to legitimise the fascist coup they were plotting, the one that eventually succeeded. She names a couple of UN officials, including Ban Ki-Moon, that had already been recruited for the task.

So that’s why, because they are puppets of the American government.

Crimea had been part of Russia since the eighteenth century, and has had a majority Russian population since Stalin. Ultimately, though, whether it is to be Russian should be up to the people who live there.

Even if the people of Crimea were 100% in favor of becoming part of Russia, and even if it was unanimous that Crimea should be absorbed into Russia, what Putin is doing is still not right - due to the way he’s going about it. It’s as if there were two toddlers playing in a sand box, and one of them had a toy that the other one thought was theirs. Even if he’s right, it wouldn’t be OK for the toddler to start hitting the other one and throwing sand in his eyes to get it.

Both the elected president of the Ukraine and the local government of the Crimea have invited the Russians in.

It wasn’t a fascist coup. Neither the new President nor Prime Minister of the Ukraine are fascists. “Fascist” is one of those terms being thrown around in an attempt to delegitimize the new government.

Crimea had been part of the Russian Empire since the 18th century, but Ukraine had been part of the Russian Empire also. So was Finland.

Reading the"fascist" claim makes me think of the rhetoric of the Stalin-era variety. People who oppose Russia are termed “fascists” and “foreign stooges”, pretty well by definition.