UN Security Council and a probable reform

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yavuzovic
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UN Security Council and a probable reform

#1 Post by yavuzovic » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:57 pm

First I watched this video and decided to ask several questions. I remember discussing that before so maybe there is an older thread so sorry if this was already discussed.
First, the 7 purposes of UN start with the sovereign equality of all members. This really means that all the organisation of UN is dependant on this rule. However P5 countries have a veto power. At first this looks very unfair but it has a meaningful login actually. Once I took part in an MUN program and they explained this advantage as: P5 countries are the strongest countries (of their time, and most of them still) so if UN takes an action against the interests of these countries, it would have to act against UN and this would cause a bigger destruction than another country with less power. That sounds logical but veto power also caused UN to fail many actions and sometimes the results were inhumane.

The video I shared was saying that African countries have reached an agreement that Africa must be better represented in Security Council, requesting a permanent seat. Also other countries like Brazil had this request, which, I think, is rightful.

But are permanent membership really necessary? The arguement above was quite reasonable because it's obvious that leading the world to a war between the global powers would be destructive for all. However this permanent membership causes UN to stay silent towards the ongoing disputes (like Hong Kong). There may be an amendment that will protect both the peace and the justice.

A proposition says that veto power can be divided. So if one country vetoes, it still passes but more than one country - for example 3 (20% of current council) - vetoes, then it cannot pass.
Another solution is to enlarge the number of permanent seats. In my humble opinion, this is going to make UN even weaker, though.

Permanent members like US and Russia are still the world powers and China has caught up, while UK and France are still important factors in the world. However the passing time brought new powers like India and UN must be rearranged to catch up. Recently we heard about a border disagreement between India and Pakistan, both countries hold nuclear weapons and if UN fails establishing peace again, the world will suffer the results.

Yet, UN is a great place where countries can negotiate and it probably prevented some conflicts (While failing many others). League of Nations failed preventing a new world war and we hope United Nations will not ends up similarly.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#2 Post by Octavious » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:11 pm

Russia isn't a world power. Russia is a regional power with nukes. The only true world power is the USA, although China is pretty close and will be there pretty damned soon.

As for the UN preventing conflicts between major powers, the Korean War suggests otherwise. Still, I guess times have changed since then. Even though people seem to treat the modern age as a international diplomacy low point, we're still a million lightyears from the days when UN Secretary Generals who wanted peace with the wrong nations could be casually assassinated.

I agree that extra veto powers would be a disaster for getting anything done. The divided veto idea is a good one, but I don't see how such an idea could be implemented. I assume that the veto countries would stop such a change from ever taking place.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#3 Post by orathaic » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:00 pm

As for the UN preventing conflicts between major powers, the Korean War suggests otherwise.
I don't think I understand your reasoning... The Korean war is a terrible example to use at the time one major power (the CCP's China) was not recognised by the UN,had they been, a veto of US action in Korea would have been certain.

Though US action might still have occurred (and in itself that may be sufficient to demonstrate the limits of the UN), after all Vietnam was allowed to happen - the difference there being that China saw Vietnam as more of a rival than a potential puppet state (see North Korea). After all China did invade Vietnam after the US failed... (after the French failed to reassert control following WW2, really Vietnam deserves a medal... Defeating 3 World powers, one after another, and probably an apology).

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#4 Post by Octavious » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:11 pm

orathaic wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:00 pm
I don't think I understand your reasoning...
It's pretty self explanatory. China, with its military strength of well over a million men, was a major power. The UN did not prevent the war from happening.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#5 Post by Randomizer » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:56 pm

Octavious wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:11 pm
Russia isn't a world power. Russia is a regional power with nukes. The only true world power is the USA, although China is pretty close and will be there pretty damned soon.
Russia's veto is a holdover from when it was the Soviet Union and each of its Soviet Republics was considered a separate country for voting in the General Assembly. Plus Eastern European countries were under its control to add votes to its bloc.

Getting it downgraded in status would be hard as it still has allies to block the vote.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#6 Post by Octavious » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:17 am

Randomizer wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:56 pm
Getting it downgraded in status would be hard as it still has allies to block the vote.
Practically speaking, does it even require allies to block the vote? Can they not just say no regardless, and that's the end of it? I guess at the end of the day if the rest of the world chooses to ignore Russia then the veto is effectively meaningless, but it is in the interests of the other four to maintain the idea that the veto is important.

The security council is what it is partly for historic reasons, but also partly because they are the nations better equipped to intervene overseas than any other. Only the US can send a massive force anywhere in the world, but the others all have the ability to send a more modest but still significant amount of power. That sets them apart from African and South American nations, who simply can't, or nations like Japan and Germany, who won't. The only nation I can think of that has the potential to do the role justice is India.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#7 Post by orathaic » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:37 am

Octavious wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:11 pm
orathaic wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:00 pm
I don't think I understand your reasoning...
It's pretty self explanatory. China, with its military strength of well over a million men, was a major power. The UN did not prevent the war from happening.
But China* at the time didn't have a veto. And Russia (USSR) was boycotting the UN in protest. So the UN as it is designed to function was not functioning in the lead up to the Korean war.

That is like saying, when countries don't subscribe to the UN model, it doesn't work.

Well D'uh!

*Taiwan held the Chinese seat, despite not being a world power at the time.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#8 Post by Octavious » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:55 am

Taiwan has never held a Security Council seat. The Chinese government operating from Taipei held the seat rather than the Chinese government operating from Beijing. The seat was always China's.

The UN as it was designed to function was the 5 world powers acting in consensus for the good of all humanity. The UN has arguably never worked as it was designed to function. It relies too much on the good will of nations, and that only exists in press conferences.
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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#9 Post by yavuzovic » Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:27 am

Octavious wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:11 pm
I agree that extra veto powers would be a disaster for getting anything done. The divided veto idea is a good one, but I don't see how such an idea could be implemented. I assume that the veto countries would stop such a change from ever taking place.
If countries start not to respect this weak UN's decisions, then security council may give up on their veto powers since they will keep their permanent seats and that's already a good influence. It's still much better than having a useless veto power if other members just ignore their decision.
Russia isn't a world power. Russia is a regional power with nukes.
I disagree, Russia is an actor in many overseas actions like Libyan conflict and Syria. They have a smaller effect on the world compared to America but Russia is still a world power who can have a decision on international situations.

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Re: UN Security Council and a probable reform

#10 Post by yavuzovic » Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:30 am

Security Council is the highest acting part of UN and all regions must be equally represented even if they cannot intervene an international incident.

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