The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia's violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity this week in the first vote by the body since Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The non-binding resolution passed with 100 countries in favor, 58 abstentions, and a smattering of delegations not present. Fewer than a dozen countries voted against it, including Russia. As the first test of global opinion since the Ukrainian crisis began, what can we discern from the tally about post-Crimea realignments in world power?
The vote gave Western countries a chance to demonstrate the unity they have sometimes lacked as the Crimean crisis has unfolded. Every European Union member state and most of its candidates for membership voted for the resolution, as did the entire memberships of NATO, the G-7, and the OECD, except for Israel.
Only 11 countries voted against the resolution: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. A veritable rogues' gallery of U.S. foreign policy, the "No" bloc is scattered across the globe; only Belarus and North Korea share a border with Russia.*
Among the Nos, all but Armenia are longtime U.S. opponents and authoritarian or authoritarian-leaning states. Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe, unsurprisingly backed Russia, with which it shares deep economic and political ties. Cuba, Sudan, and Syria are listed as state sponsors of terrorism by the U.S. government. The Reagan administration fought a proxy war against members of the ruling Nicaraguan government in the 1980s, while Venezuela and Bolivia are staunchly leftist opponents of American neoliberalism and interventionism. North Korea, for its part, spent most of the Crimean crisis conducting missile tests in an ongoing campaign to demonstrate strength and deter the West.