Reforming the Security Council

Nonetheless, the permanent 5 (P5), also known as the big 5, consisting of United States, China, Britain, France and Russia control many areas of the organization because of their veto power. And because “[u]nder the U. N. Charter, the Security Council is charged with protecting security and maintaining peace around the world. It is the only U. N. body whose pronouncements are legally binding on all members, and the only U. N.

institution with the power to request troops and other security resources from member nations for dispatch around the world. ” Thus, such power should not just lie in the hands of a select few, and many member states in the UN realize this. Hence, they argue that “the size and composition of the Security Council appear insufficiently representative. ” And that the Security Council “represents a small group of privileged nations rather than the world at large. ”

Indeed, UN reform must include a reform of the Security Council. The Security Council represents the powerhouse of the organization. Therefore, “the security council need[s] to become more representative and democratic by expanding beyond the current permanent members... [When that happens] it will gain even more in legitimacy. ” To even begin such a change, nations should agree on a criteria to base its decision on what countries should be apart of the Security Council. Criteria such as

the size of a country's economy is important; the size of its population; its military capacity, its potential to contribute militarily to United Nations peacekeeping missions; its contributions to peacekeeping; its commitment to democracy and human rights; its financial contributions to the United Nations system; its record and commitment on counterterrorism; its record and commitment on non-proliferation; and... at the geographic balance, overall, of how the Security Council is constituted should all be considered.

However, even with the criteria in place and adding more member states in the Security Council will not necessarily translate into ineffectiveness. This is because the problem with the Security Council does not solely lie in its composition and other requirements imposed on countries sitting and will sit on the Security Council, even though the latter has some importance. Thus, according to analyst Joshua Muravchik potential member states that will be added to the security council just wants a “ ‘piece of the pie…so people are dividing up this pie, and no one’s asking so how can we bake a better pie?

Therefore, for the Security Council to be effective, it needs to discuss and address the issue of its ineffectiveness mainly its deficiency in decision making and enforcing necessary rules. Also, authority figures should have the “capacity to take prompt and realistic decisions, and the will to act on them. A reform process that consisted only of an increase in membership would be unlikely to strengthen the Council in this vital respect. ” Moreover, the veto power that the permanent five of the Security Council holds show their “privileged status [which makes the] Council both undemocratic and ineffective.

The veto-wielding permanent members (P-5) prevent many issues from reaching the Council's agenda and they often selfishly bar widely-agreed and much-needed initiatives. ” Hence, veto power results in the Security Council's inability to adapt and welcome change Therefore, “[s]keptics question whether Security Council reform is feasible as long as certain members have the power to veto. ” Consequently, the Security Council has been known to promote their self-interest by the use of their veto power.

This is because “states use whatever institutions are available to serve their interests. ” Thus, the permanent five prevent the Council from acting on important matters of peace and security that fall within their national interest... They insist on the right to control certain high-ranking UN posts and to name the tenants in those posts (or at least have a large influence over who among their nationals may occupy them). They intervene regularly in the workings of the Secretariat and disproportionately influence the wording of reports and the shaping of initiatives...