The UN should be reformed or replaced
The UN is becoming out of step with the realities of the world. At the same time as there are new rising powers demanding better representation the UN is moving the wrong way in terms of openness and transparency. Old powers with vetos will be able to cling on to their positions on the UNSC long after their power has declined. New powers may not even wish to reform the UN and want to create a news system.
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Africa should have a member of the Security Council
Considering that seven of the UN's current peacekeeping missions are based in Africa, and Africa is the continent which has required the most UN assistance in the past it should have a seat on the Security Council. If the needs of those suffering in conflicts in Africa are to be properly addressed, understood and receive the attention they deserve a permanent African member of the Security council should exist. For too long the Security Council has failed to act quickly enough to solve problems in Africa for example the 1994 crisis in Rwanda, and African issues need to be pushed to the forefront if they are not to be ignored, such as the continuing conflict in the Congo which has led to the death of up to 3 million people. An African member would make sure this issues were no longer ignored.
Who should be this member though? South Africa is the most developed but compared to the other Security Council members has a tiny economy and small population. South Africa has a GDP $495bln (using favourable ppp) of and a population of 49 million.[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html]] This can be compared to the UK's $2.149tln and 61 million people.[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uk.html]] Both Egypt (79mln)[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html]] and Nigeria (149mln)[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html]] have much larger populations but smaller economies. All three are the leader in their respective areas. Who should it be?
The Security Council needs to be more transparent
What goes on during Security Council discussions is too shrouded in secrecy. For people to know that important issues are really being addressed more transparency would be welcome. It is hypocritical for the UN to preach government transparency and freedom of the press worldwide but not allow it when it comes to the Security Council. The press are essential to the work of the UN as they can help to highlight areas where they may need to step in, as well as highlight the good work that the UN are doing. The emphasis on secrecy just makes it seem like the five permanent members have way too much control over proceedings and arouses suspicion about what they may be talking about that must be kept so top secret.
As the UN representative for Sudan said:
Permanent members of the SC should not have so much power to veto
A negative vote, or veto, by a permanent member prevents any proposal being adopted, even if it has received the correct number of positive or affirmative votes.Since 1984, China (PRC) has vetoed three resolutions; France three; Russia/USSR four; the United Kingdom ten; and the United States 43. Proposals should be passed by majority vote, and the veto power of the five permanent members should be removed, it is a hindrance to diplomacy and means that the members of the Security Council are not all on equal terms and therefore countries who are non-permanent members cannot expected to be taken as seriously. Like the old bipolar trade agreements which marginalised less developed countries at the negotiating table have began to fall out of use, allowing them to become empowered, so should the veto power of the five permanent members.
Reform would seriously undermine UN's position as peacemaker and its reputation for holding countries together. Many countries are abstaining from engaging in violent or illegal activities because of UN's encompassing power and the possible repercussions from it if they violate international laws. Reform would make UN look weak and would undermine its position and sway with such countries. Upcoming powers might be emboldened and for example, "virtual" nuclear states might assemble nuclear weapons believing that the UN is in a state of disarray and they won't face implications. In short, reform or replacement of the UN could backfire on the international community. The League of Nations faded because it was no longer believed to be in control, and the same might happen with the UN. The result was the Second World War, against the League's primary purpose to "avoid any future world war"
It aids power-political interests in the guise of human-rights
Despite limiting state sovereignty, the UN, the UN Charter, the International Bill of Rights, and other human rights treaties have created a state-centric human rights regime. This facilitates the use of human rights rhetoric to be manipulated into a providing instrumental use to give ideological legitimacy to the post-Cold War new world order. The state itself is implicated in producing values in pursuit of its own legitimacy – this is achieved by stronger western powers through utilising human rights rhetoric as a legitimising claim, and to delegtimise other states. The states with the most power are the ones who have seats at the UN. States with lesser economic and political power are less likely to monitor or affect the behaviour of stronger states. This adds to the construction of the southern ‘other’ and the portrayal of the North as the humanitarian provider of its salvation legitimises the northern world and produces a victim-saviour dichotomy, enhancing perceptions of the North within society and leading to further legitimization, whilst delegitimising the South.
Reform would never be agreed upon.
Too many countries would disagree on who should gain more power in the UN. The BRIC countries would support a greater role for Brazil and India, whilst Germany would say that as the EUs most powerful economy they should have a seat. South Africa would argue that there should be a seat for an African country which they would promote themselves to take up and middle eastern powers would argue that a reformed Security Council should have a place for them, a point which Israel would object to. Obviously the point of the Security Council would be undermined if it had a large amount of members as it would just be like a slightly smaller version of the main UN chamber.
The difficulty of getting an agreement in reform does not mean that it should not be attempted. Replacing the UN, or even just the Security Council would have difficulty getting agreement as well. In reforming the UNSC China will try to prevent India or Japan getting a seat while the UK and France will try to keep theirs. Replace the whole lot and there are just as big questions: how do you create the new system? Who should be the members? and how can it be made fairer than the current system? and most important why would the most important nations (The US and China) want to create a new system that is fairer towards middle powers that are often their competitors?
What do you think?