|The United Nations headquarters (1).|
Per its website, the United Nations was created in 1945 to provide a voice for the world's countries and to serve as a focus for collaborative action on a number of issues. One of its key mandates is to "keep peace throughout the world." However, its ability to ameliorate bloody conflicts like the one currently going on in Syria is limited. The U.N. Security Council oversees the international body's peacekeeping functions. It is unable to intervene in a conflict if just one of its five permanent members, which include Russia, the U.S., China, France, and Britain, veto the proposal. For instance, even though most of countries of the world are appalled by what is going on in Syria, the U.N. is powerless to send troops to stop the fighting in that country because Russia and China would veto any such proposal.
According to a presentation at the 2011 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, the current Security Council setup, allowing for the permanent members to veto any legislation, may be a necessary evil. It is certainly possible that Russia, China, or the U.S. (and to a lesser extent Great Britain and France) might opt out of the U.N. if they were denied veto power. In that case, it may be better to give these nations an outsized voice in the U.N.'s affairs in exchange for their tacit agreement to abide by the rules and protocols set by the international body.
However, it is also true that the U.N. Security Council's current structure demonstrates a lack of respect for the views of other countries. Nigeria, Brazil, and Germany are all larger (population-wise) than Great Britain, yet they do not have any real control over the U.N. Security Council's actions. Worse, the current U.N. structure often prohibits it from following through on one of its chief aims-to act as world peacekeeper.
Given these flaws, perhaps it is time that the United Nations' 193 member countries seriously discuss eliminating the veto power of the big five, or, as DebatePedia suggests, they could implement procedures which would allow a supermajority of nations to override the veto of one of the permanent members. Either way, something needs to be done; the conflict in Syria has proven that much.
1. Photographer: Stefano Corso (Pensiero)
Date: February 23, 2005
Title/Description: The United Nations headquarters in New York.
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Photographer's notes (click on the title/link to see
the photo, credits, and permissions).
-- Anthony Hopper
#UN #Syria #MiddleEast #US #war #legal #international #UnitedNations