Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

UN Security Council should be abolished

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-01-05

I cannot see the difference between the essentially self-appointed UN Security Council and the essentially self-appointed Council of Guardians of Iran, which is basically an "upper house" of theocrats that consistently stymies the efforts of the democratically elected "lower house" and any reformist efforts of any President.

Both structures are anti-democratic and lead to poor (if not downright disastrous) outcomes, with the current problems in Gaza being the most obvious failure.

The Security Council veto powers of the winners of a war fast fading from living memory are the most obnoxious part of the UN structure, and the US has much to answer for as the primary blocker of useful action in the last two decades.  Why should 1945 CE be important?  If anything, the world powers at the time of the treaty of Westphalia (whether party to the treaty or not) that consolidated the doctrine of soverign nation states would make a more logically justifiable group.  Hell, why don’t we simply baseline at 753 AUC and give the veto power only to China, India, Iran and Italy (which is more representative of the modern world than the current veto-holding lot)?

As previous Secretary-General Kofi Annan repeatedly pointed out during the pre-Iraq-2 propaganda efforts by the Coalition of the Warlike (accurately described by Annan as the "belligerents"), the UN Security Council should be an organ of the General Assembly, not it’s de facto master.

Personally, I’d like the General Assembly to flex the muscles available through GA Resolution 377 which…

Resolves that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Unfortunately, the Tenth Emergency Special Session, initiated under UNGA resolution 377 (which sought to address the misery of the Palestine/Israel conflict since 1997) has been put into hibernation.  The current problems in that troubled region demonstrate the why the UN should not accede to terrorism again when drawing state boundaries, as it did by allowing a Zionist state, despite the acknowledgement in the 1947 UNSCOP (UN Special Committee on Palestine) recommendations as to who the terrorists were:

Recommendation 1 (b) The outstanding feature of the Palestine situation today, is found in the clash between Jews and the mandatory Power on the one hand, and on the other the tension prevailing between Arabs and Jews. This conflict situation, which finds expression partly in an open breach between the organized Jewish community and the Administration and partly in organized terrorism and acts of violence, has steadily grown more intense and takes as its toll an ever-increasing loss of life and destruction of property.

It is worth noting that the committee membership mandated by the GA in 1947 was: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia, so therefore Australia should wear at least part of the blame for the poor outcome.

Personally, I’d hope the UNGA soon develops a standing military force, deployable at the wishes of a significant majority of the UNGA (perhaps 75%), and accountable directly to the UNGA, not the UNSC.

As long as the UNSC acts as a self-appointed "cabinet", the prospects for peace will elude us.  What I’d like to see is a Security Council accountable to the General Assembly, with all SC positions declared vacant every few years and elected by a one-country-one-vote system, most of the world’s problems will remain insoluble, and with no member having veto power.

Those who know me will know this is not my favored end-state: elections to the "organ formerly known as the Security Council" on a one-person-one-vote system, rather than the current gerrymander, and indeed, the dissolution of nation-states.


4 Responses to “UN Security Council should be abolished”

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  3. Lydia said

    Hi Dave,

    I work for the New Internationalist magazine – – and I was wondering if you’d like to take part in an email debate for us on: ‘Is it time to junk the UN Security Council?’ which will feature in our magazine. If you’re interested, please email me on as soon as possible for more details.

    All the best,


  4. Lydia said

    Hi Dave,

    Could you contact my colleague Vanessa as well please if you get this. Her email is thanks.

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