The UN Security Council (UNSC) has lost some credibility with the US due to its lack of ability to act decisively with many recent events.
Nonetheless, it still remains as one of the most powerful world organizations of states when it comes to deciding the status and potential recourses
of action for political and military events that happen around the globe. Or at least, so it would seem.
With many recent articles on ATS concerning Iran and N. Korea, I decided to look into the UNSC a bit deeper, its members, proposed reforms, NATO, the
EU, and new global strategic/military alliances that are occurring. Well, it is interesting to me what I have found. To some this might be boring, but
for those interested, please reply with your opinions, as I like to learn.
In recent articles, India, Germany, Japan and Brazil (known as the G4 group) are all lobbying for permanent seats at the UNSC . Russia, a permanent
member, is backing India to become one , and with recent economic and military deals between the two countries , I suppose this comes as no
surprise. I just read an article saying that Russia and India will be conducting joint paratroop military exercises in 2005 , and also that India
is fully supporting Russia's admission to the WTO . Russia has taken a vested interest in getting India on the UNSC as permanent member with veto
power, and they are securing India's favoritism by laying the ground work through economic and military ties.
Historically, the veto power distribution within the UNSC Tier1 countries has been somewhat favorable to the US and its allies (US, UK, and France)-
until more recently. On one side we have Russia and China, and on the other the US and UK. But with France's recent chastisement of the US and UK for
the war in Iraq, you don't have to wonder what position they would assume on other issues such as sanctions against Iran/N. Korea, or even a conflict
France's recent securement of a signature and 200m from China towards Galileo adds clarity to the statement that new global alliances have altered
the power balances at the UNSC. Without any new member additions at all, it could be argued that the veto power balance at the UNSC has shifted. Note
that adding a Russian-favorable India to the panel alone would swing the veto power balance out of reach for the US. Add Germany, Japan and Brazil to
the veto power equation, and I am curious what you guys think the effects of this might be.
With the EU's endorsement of Galileo, the situation gets very sticky indeed. You see, the pentagon has made it quite clear to countries subscribed to
Galileo that they will shoot it down should it become a strategic target because of military action against US enemies. However, it should be noted
that this could adversely affect the defense postion of the UK, since the UK is pro-Galileo. For this reason Washington is becoming leary of any
further dissemination of military secrets to the UK for fear of sabotage, and particularly through France- once our friend, and now arguably a
potential enemy. Will the UK be sucked into the Galileo vortex along with them, causing the US to be completely isolated at the UNSC?
The UNSC has entertained several proposals for reconfiguration of the Council , ranging from minor reforms to complete abolishment. The White House
Press Secretary has stated that the US will be looking very carefully at these reform proposals. The UNSC will be holding meetings on reform issues
next September. There are also discussions of either expanding or abolishing the so-called 'veto power' of the permanent members.
I realize that the veto power balance that I speak of is elusive, because at any time a country is free to vote or veto what they feel on the issue at
hand. And in addition, there are also the non-permanent members yielding another 10 votes aside from the 5 votes of the permanent members. It takes 9
of 15 to pass a resolution, but this must happen with no veto from any of the 5 permanent members. In spite of this, there are historical precedents,
and I think any of you interested in this topic understand what I mean, in a general sense, by the "veto power balance."
You can read all about the UNSC and its members at its website:
I haven't touched much on the economic side of this equation, as it is beyond the scope of this article, but by no means unimportant. Last I checked
the dollar value on the world market is at an all-time low.
In summary, from the information I have gathered so far on this, the US is being isolated for real- militarily, diplomatically, and economically. Time
for some foreign policy changes in Washington? Very soon there may be no point to the US participating in the UNSC. Unless of course, Washington pulls
a few tricks of its own. Like getting Canada and Mexico as permanent members with veto power, for starters. We can be pretty damn good at diplomacy,
when we really try. Admittedly, I have only scratched the surface in my research, and just dipped my toe in. But the water is for now-- feeling very
cold indeed. Trying to get some kind of realistic global perspective on all this is very frustrating, due to the sheer magnitude of the subject. Any
insight you may have would be appreciated.