Friday, October 14, 2005

Bolton Opposes Security Council Expansion

US Ambassador to the UN predicted the ultimate failure of bids to expand the size of the 15-member UN Security Council. The US opposes expansion to as many as 25 nations, although Bolton did signal that we would possibly support an expansion up to 19 or 20 nations. ( Bolton: U.N. council expansion will fail). Expansion by 4 or 5 nations may be a required compromise in order to include Japan as a permanent member, a move supported by the US.

The size and makeup of the UN Security Council is one of the many problems plaguing the UN. Committee's of that size are rarely productive, and the Security Council is consistently comprised of nations with competing philosophies and agendas. Worse yet, the vast majority of nations on the council have no ability to enforce the council's resolutions, and must rely on the US and Great Britain to do so. Ironically, those nations also typically oppose US and British policy.

Expansion of the Security Council beyond the current 15 would be a mistake. Resolutions issued by the council are already so watered down with compromise as to be virtually meaningless. The UN Security Council already has virtually no means of enforcement without full US backing, and is extremely slow to take any action whatsoever. Fortunately, expansion of the council requires US backing for it to succeed, and that is not likely to happen.

Japan, Brazil, Germany, and India are pushing for the expansion, and are also pushing to gain veto power in the council for themselves. They are also arguing that two additional seats should go to Africa, but the African Council is insisting that those seats be granted at least one veto. There are already five nations with veto power (US, Russia, Britain, China, and France). Adding any more nations with veto authority to the council will render it useless. To improve the effectiveness of a committee, one must reduce that committee's size, not increase it. A contraction of the UN Security Council is the needed reform. Considering any form of expansion is sheer folly.


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