In Defense of the United Nations Security Council

By Cristina Dan

I am writing this editorial in rebuttal to the following essay: I was especially struck by the following comments:

1. "In the terribly fields of warfare and economic sanctions only the nations with real, worldwide, economic and/or military clout should be making the decisions they will have the primary responsibility of implementing."

2. "It is time to quit playing games with world security. There should be no room for "political correctness" or "feel good" solutions at this level. Teddy Roosevelt's dictum, "Walk softly but carry a big stick" should be heeded, and only nations that have developed that big stick, military and economic, have a rightful place on the Security Council of the United Nations."

I believe that the main functions of the Security Council were clearly outlined in the editorial referred to above. I have taken the liberty of copying them here:

"Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:

  • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  • to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • to take military action against an aggressor; to recommend the admission of new Members;
  • to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas";
  • to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice."

After having read the above more closely, it is clear to me that this council should not be made up of only the strong nations. Yes, the five permanent members are capable of taking charge, but, if there is one or more than one renegade nation among those five, there should be enough opposition from the remaining temporary members to change decisions.

This council is not only concerned with providing arms and military support. I don't have to reiterate what I have already copied from your own document. It is more than self-evident. There is more to this council than just "going to war". I don't agree that only the powerful nations have a right to decide the fate of an entire planet with "a big stick". After all, the name of the organization that includes this council is indeed the United Nations.

What is the purpose of such of an organization if only a handful of nations decide the fate of the entire world? Yes, the countries you have mentioned are considered "powerful," but let's not forget that power is an illusion. I think the only countries that have real power are the permanent Security Council members. I am surprised that France is one of them, but I guess Germany wasn't allowed to be one of the permanent members after that whole mess with W.W.II.

In fact, only the U.S.A. (more than 300 million people), Russia (probably as many as the U.S.A.), and China (with its more than a billion people) should make up the security council because the three of them together make up a little more than a sixth of the world population. The U.K. is a traditional favorite, but it pales when it comes to its population. So does France. I think India should be included as a permanent member because it's the second most populous country and it also has nuclear weapons. According to your logic, some Middle East countries should be included because they're just too filthy rich because of their oil exports. Their economies are stronger than those of Italy, Japan and many of the countries in the G-7 including Canada.

The only way that balance can be maintained in a so-called "democratic" organization such as the UN is to allow all of the UN member states no matter how small, poor, or insignificant they are to have a say regarding this planet.

We are human beings who supposedly are in favor of human rights. Where are the human rights of all the nations of the world regardless of their economic and military weaknesses? Where is democracy? Where is equality? Where is freedom of speech and expression? Are they all a myth? The ones that "make the cake" take the biggest pieces for themselves.

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Copyright 2003 by Cristina Dan. All rights reserved.