Chirol from Coming Anarchy writes about the so-called "Group of Four" (Germany, Japan, India, & Brazil) and their willingness to give up veto power for 15 years in order to increase support for their bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). At the end of his post, he suggests a number of questions:
3) What purpose do such token UNSC actually serve? Are such lame ducks worth having?
4) Is the UN even reforming in the right direction? Do we need more UN or a streamlined and more efficient one?
5 ) If the current members aren't willing to allow new ones, why will they be in 15 years?
Since #3 and #5 relate specifically to this issue, I will consider them first. While this compromise may allow the Four to enter the Security Council on a permanent basis, it is unlikely that China, which is likely to be stronger in 15 years time, will allow Japan and India to have vetoes. Depending on the geopolitical situation in 2020 in Eastern Europe and South America, Russia and the United States may come to similar conclusions. It is entirely possible that the Four will be permanently stuck as second-class UNSC citizens. While this scenario is probably better than the Four not having permanent seats at all, it is still non-optimal. As Dan
, one of the commenters on Coming Anarchy pointed out, the UNSC should reflect global geopolitical reality
. Considering the strength of India
compared to that of France
, it is clear that the Security Council needs significant reform.
But how much reform? As I have written before (see the last paragraph), my ideal UN would be an organization able and willing to project power as necessary to safeguard human rights worldwide. Instead, the United Nations seem to be rapidly approaching League of Nations-type irrelevancy. The only solution is radical reform on a scale that nobody is yet seriously considering. Here is my proposal:
- The rotating seats on the Security Council (defined in Article 23 of the UN Charter) should be eliminated in favor of a larger Council, more accurately representing the world's most powerful states.
- The veto power of Security Council members should also be eliminated (Article 27), as it makes Security Council action too difficult, especially in cases where one or more countries on the Council has a vested interest in a conflict.
- Article 43 of the Charter, which requires UN member states to provide both armed forces and other assistance to the Security Council, for "the purpose of maintaining international peace and security," should be more rigorously enforced. The level of dues that member states pay to the UN should increase. Similarly, the Charter should be amended to expressly forbid measures of economic blackmail like the House of Representatives is currently considering. While I do not disagree that the UN needs reform, constraining its economic health creates a Catch-22 situation where the UN's inefficiency is caused by its detractors.