Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Should There Still Be a Security Council?

Yesterday, speaking to the Indian parliament, President Obama pledged his support for expanding the security council to include India as a permanent member. It is unclear whether this would come with veto power or not, but either way it leads to a more general question, should there be a security council at all? If the nations are united in the UN, should some countries be more equal than others?

One can argue that it was necessary in the beginning to get stronger nations to agree to join, after all if might might make right, why allow any say from the weak. If the strong are guaranteed more say, then that might be alright. One can argue that it made sense in the bipolar world of the Cold War. Why bother having the fake proxy arguments when you can cut through the nonsense and just have the major actors sitting at a special table?

But does it still make sense? With a planet full of emerging nations and countries who are disproportionately affected by the actions and consumption of the larger nations, should we still give the lion's share of the power to a handful of countries? Or is it real politik, a fact on the ground that these are the power brokers, so if anything is to be done, cut out the time consuming wrangling and just put those who need to lead in a place to do so?