Revising the United Nations Security Council

By Chuck Hawks

At present there are 15 members of the UN Security Council, five permanent members and 10 elected by the General Assembly for two year terms. The duties of the Security Council, according to the UN web site, are as follows.

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.

The permanent members of the Security Council as it now stands are France, China (Red China), Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2002 the temporary members were Bulgaria, Cameroon, Columbia, Guinea, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, and Syria.

I mean no disrespect to nations such as Bulgaria, Cameroon, Mauritius, Guinea, et al, but the idea that these nations can contribute anything to either military or economic sanctions against renegade nations is ludicrous. The idea that there should be any temporary members of the Security Council is nothing but a "feel good" sop to powerless nations. In the terribly fields of warfare and economic sanctions only the nations with real, world wide, economic and/or military clout should be making the decisions they will have the primary responsibility of implementing.

My proposal is that the Security Council be reorganized as follows. There should be no temporary members. The members should all be permanent and should consist of the world's great military and economic powers. At the present time the great world military powers are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The seven great world economic powers (all of whom also have serious military capability), the "G-7," are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

So the membership of my proposed United Nations Security Council would be Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The logic seems inescapable; these are the nine nations that have major worldwide interests and the military and economic might to implement the decisions they will be called upon to make.

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.

Back to the Editorial Page

Copyright 2003 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.