Speed Reads

Foreign affairs

At the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. beats Russia, 100-69, on Crimea

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Technically, Ukraine proposed the resolution at the United Nations that declared Russia's annexation of Crimea illegal and internationally unrecognized. But its strong passage in the U.N. General Assembly — 100 countries voted in favor, 11 against, and 58 abstained — was a victory for the U.S. and Europe. Here's the scorecard, from General Assembly President John W. Ashe, of Antigua and Barbuda:

Notice the "no" votes — Russia, Russian allies like Belarus and Syria, North Korea, and a handful of Latin American countries that consider the U.S. an antagonistic imperial power (Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua). The list of nations staying on the sidelines is more impressive and more interesting — China, India, and Pakistan, sure, but also Afghanistan, Egypt, and Brazil. For sake of argument, we'll take the fact they didn't vote against Crimea's nationality switch as a win for Russia.

With Europe and the U.S. on Ukraine's side, Russia on its own side, and the rest of the world powers sitting this out, the bulk of the "yes" votes came from smaller countries whose fates have long been determined by the whims of various superpowers and empires. The vote from the General Assembly won't deter Russia or change its course, but now we have a better sense of where the international cards lie.