The present stalemate between the United States (US) and China over a United Nations’ (UN) resolution calling for a 90-day humanitarian pause in conflicts worldwide reminds one of the Cold War days. Unfortunately, the US and China are at loggerheads at a crucial moment when the coronavirus pandemic is engulfing one country after another. It is sad noting that the text of the proposed resolution is still under discussion without any progress made because of the political disagreement between two superpowers.

Witnessing another failure of the UN Security Council (UNSC) that is the main peacekeeping body of the UN, reflects poorly on the international body and the world at large. The UNSC, as the stalemate shows, is unable to perform its primary duty even amid a full-blown crisis. The two global powers must consider the vulnerabilities of the countries and regions that are witnessing conflicts and political turmoil and the subsequent brutalities of the regimes.

COVID-19 is also exacting its toll on people in a world where more than 20 active conflicts are ongoing. Health experts have expressed their fears time and again regarding the costs coronavirus has, and will impose on countries torn apart by conflicts and civil wars. The imposition of a global ceasefire was already a significant challenge; it becomes more complicated given the disagreement between the US and China.

Whether the UNSC will be able to reach an agreement on the draft resolution or not, what is clear is that recent crises including the COVID-19 pandemic have precipitated a worrisome erosion of great power relations that have complicated the Council’s decision-making on several trouble spots. And the reason for failure to find a unified strategy to any such crisis is the problematic structure of the SC and power of permanent members of the body. Perhaps, it is time to reconsider the structure of the SC and the veto power that the permanent members use for short-term political gains.