Sunday, May 15, 2005

Amending the U.N. Charter: Why Does the "Unilateralist" U.S. Care?

This NYT article suggests the U.S. will oppose granting any new permanent members of the Security Council a veto power that is currently shared by the Big Five. I have to admit that I am a big surprised at this opposition. If the U.S. really doesn't think the UN Security Council matters very much, then why should the U.S. care if there are more vetoes? On the other hand, any one who wants a more effective Security Council, namely, the U.N. bureaucrats, should oppose handing out more vetoes. Yet they appear to be supporting the new members? Strange.

From a strictly legal point of view, I am stunned that anyone thinks UN Charter reform is going to happen very quickly or at all, because 2/3 of all UN members, including all of the members of the Security Council, must ratify any amendments through their domestic constitutional processes (See Article 108, U.N. Charter). Yikes. That means 67 U.S. senators must approve any new U.N. arrangement with new Security Council members. Good luck!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff V. said...

It seems pretty obvious that security council expansion, if proposed, would never be passed. None of the current members want their power diluted, and it would be unthinkeable for one of the weaker security council members (cough, France, cough) to relingquish its spot in favor of Japan, Germany, Brazil, Egypt, or any other of the proposed new members.

So let's talk about something that's actually plausible: creating a new alliance or council of democracies that agrees to pool its UN votes together. This was proposed here:

http://www.cfr.org/pub7052/james_m_lindsay_ivo_h_daalder/an_alliance_of_democracies.php

...and I think it's an excellent idea. Of course, there's a great risk that such a structure would devolve into yet another ineffective organization...but, if the political winds were right, it could also be a robust force for reform within the U.N.

5/16/2005 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Jeff V. said...

(in the first paragraph above, I'm referring to the addition of veto-bearing members. I think it's at least somewhat possible for new non-veto members to be included in the UNSC.)

5/16/2005 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Jeff V. said...

(in the first paragraph above, I'm referring to the addition of veto-bearing members. I think it's at least somewhat possible for new non-veto members to be included in the UNSC.)

5/16/2005 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the key point in this issue is how anyone can justify adding Germany--a third European member, especially when the Europeans--notably France and Germany--want to create a single European identity. And yet the Europeans purport to be more friendly to the global south than the US.

5/17/2005 3:16 PM  
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