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The United Nations is a global intergovernmental institution which can affect almost any event that takes place in the international arena as well as within each member state. It covers almost the entire spectrum of international relations; thus, any, even slightly significant, event does not remain without close attention of the United Nations. Therefore, the problems of its reformation in the modern world are the relevant and important issue. The reforms should be conducted in the structure of the organization to insure that the basic mechanisms of decision-making and decision-performing work more efficiently. The core subject of the current study is the reform options within a framework of the UN Security Council. The changes in the fundamentals of the device of the Security Council, which include the reorganization of its composition and reforms in the system of veto, are vitally important for the democratization of decision-making process and acquisition of a more rapid response to the challenges of the modern world.
The Basics of the Security Council Work
The Security Council is a chief structure which has direct responsibilities for the protection of the world well-being and safety in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Moreover, it is one of the six core bodies of the UN. The Security Council is a permanent political institution which comprises 15 members, 5 of which are constant (Great Britain, France, the USA, the Russia Federation, and China) and the remaining 10 are appointed by the General Assembly every 2 years. The Council acts on behalf of the UN member states. The decisions on the discussed issues are accepted if they are voted for by at least 9 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council. However, the 5 votes of the permanent members should coincide; hereby, if one permanent member votes against, it is enough to reject the considered decision. In fact, the Security Council has broad powers. Its decisions have not only recommendatory character but also the legally binding nature for some states. Therefore, the Council can adopt the coercive measures, provide pieces of advice on dispute resolution, tackle membership issues, including the exclusion from the UN structures, and develop the plans for the creation of the regulatory systems, among others. Apparently, the right of veto is possessed by the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Thus, each of the members can prevent the acceptance of any unsuitable solution.
The Security Council Reforms and the Expansion of the Members’ Number
The UN Security Council reforms imply a variety of suggestions. Thus, the considerable number of them concerns the increase in the number of permanent or temporary members and a restriction on the right of veto. There are different approaches and principles of a new UN Security Council formation.
The geographical principle (an equal representation of the countries from different regions) is the most popular one. Apparently there are regions that could be represented according to this principle such as Europe, Asia, Africa, North America South America, Australia and Oceania. Due to the above-mentioned approach, the total number of the UN Security Council members should be 20-26 (which is dependent on the number of representatives from the region). In fact, Kofi Annan offered this concept in his report In Larger Freedom in 2005 (43).
In addition to the discussed method, there are other principles. For example, the acquisition of the membership could be dependent on the states’ development indicators, a level of GDP, and the role and contribution to the work of the UN. Muammar Gaddafi was more radical in his speech “Problems of Broadening the So-Called UN Security Council” in 2003, indicating the Security Council significance in transferring the functions of the Security Council to the General Assembly to control important decisions by all countries without isolating or exalting individual states. Thus, the Security Council was supposed to disband.
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Talking about the number of permanent members, there are proposals to increase them by providing the places to the states that have attained a high level of development or significantly influenced the international scene. The role of the new members of the Security Council is considered by such powers as Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. Moreover, full disbandment of the institution of permanent members is considered. De jure, this step will equalize the rights of all UN member states. Obviously, such kind of decision will never be supported by the current permanent members that possess the nuclear weapon and are not going to share their influence in the organization. Thus, the expansion of the number of members could be rather observed.
Japan and Germany (“Germany’s Financial Contributions”) may become full members of the Security Council, being among the most industrialized countries in the world and the core sponsors among the 193 UN member countries (Browne and Blanchfield 26). With regard to India, as a country with a billion people, is rapidly developing high technology and the nuclear weapons, while Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. In fact, all of this countries form the Group of Four or G4 (Grieger 3). In addition, there are other countries that could qualify for the permanent seats such as Indonesia, which is the most populated (nearly 230 million people) Muslim country in the world, and three African countries, namely South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria. Thus, they are going to present their continent in the Security Council. Apparently, this approach is justified because African countries have become independent states in the XX century and disregard for them is a form of discrimination. Talking about the United Kingdom, it is one of the states that support the attempts of the G4 as well as African and French representatives to get permanent seats in the Security Council (Overton; Grieger 5). It is significant to note that the USA and Russia expressed their openness to the restrained extension. China supports India and African countries but is totally against the Japanese permanent representation that could be conneccted with the historical hostility and rivalry among the states in their region as well as Japanese refusal to recognize its responsibility for the savageries during the World Was II (Grieger 5). Nevertheless, the last one could be supported by the United States as its key ally and a trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region. The need to strengthen intercultural communication may involve the large Muslim countries in the Security Council. Thus, Indonesia may become its part. Multilateral realities of the world require taking into account the interests of all regions.
The expansion of the number of members in the Security Council can be supported by the majority of states that cannot directly influence decision-making but may delegate their powers to the representatives of like-minded members. The opponents of the extension could be such influential European countries as Italy. Undoubtedly, each country seeks to strengthen its position in the key structures. Therefore, the promotion of geopolitical neighbors can become a painful ordeal. There is a way to provide a permanent place for the European Union with an opportunity to change the alternate representatives of different countries while facing the interest opposition from the current permanent members.
Reforming the Right of Veto in the Security Council
The Security Council is often criticized because of the veto power. It is evident that any important decision causing some damage to the permanent state-member can be blocked. Russia’s position regarding decision-making in Ukraine, which remains in the center of the world’s attention during the last year and a half, is one of the current brightest examples. The deprivation of the right to veto will lead to de facto equality in the organization. Nevertheless, the majority of the permanent members do not agree with such reform for obvious reasons. The US and Russia flatly deny the right to veto (Swart and Perry 23) as well as China which with the help of the veto right blocks the attempts of Japan to become members of the Security Council on a permanent basis. The principle of the solutions’ non-acceptance in the case of a veto by 2 or 3 states could be a reasonable decision. Thus, the solutions approved by an objective majority could not be neutralized by the only one discordant state. Hereby, this position will be supported by all states without the veto right in the organization.
It has been already passed 70 years since the inception of the organization in 1945 after the World War II. The world has changed dramatically and the organization must transform accordingly, adjusting to the new realities. Due to the increasing number of the international conflicts, increasing world globalization, ongoing information and computerization of all spheres, the old methods and ways of overcoming crisis situations stop working or become ineffective. For this reason, the UN transformation that should include the reorganization of the Council membership and revision of the veto status will determine the state of affairs in the international arena.
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