Editor’s note: Due to travel, Richard Gowan’s column will appear Wednesday this week.
Vladimir Putin and Samantha Power both grumbled about the state of the international system last week. It is hard to know who is the more displeased.
The Russian president told foreign dignitaries that American policy toward the United Nations and international law threatened to make the whole system “worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.” But the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., embarking on a tour of the Ebola-ridden countries of West Africa, targeted other states for not fulfilling promises to fight the disease. Too many countries, Power warned, “are signing on to resolutions” at the U.N. about Ebola but are “yet to send [doctors], to send beds, to send the reasonable amount of money.”