US President Joe Biden has directed United Nations representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield to address the issue of reforming the Security Council. The decision comes as criticism mounts regarding the council’s inability to resolve the ongoing conflict in Ukraine under the current circumstances.
According to The Washington Post, the White House has proposed an increase in the number of permanent members on the UN Security Council. While the specific candidates remain undisclosed, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom have previously expressed support for Germany, Japan, India, as well as Brazil and certain African nations.
However, these proposed countries have voiced dissatisfaction with the notion of expanding the permanent membership without granting them veto power. They also emphasize the importance of considering factors such as contributions to the UN budget, participation in peacekeeping operations, and national economic development during the selection process.
The UN Security Council currently consists of five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. The five main countries on the council were established after World War II, including the USSR (now Russia), China, the United States, Great Britain, and France. Each permanent member has the ability to veto resolutions, effectively blocking their adoption.
Recently, the United States and Western nations have expressed concerns over Russia’s frequent use of the veto power during discussions related to the Ukrainian conflict. Against this backdrop, Biden has urged Security Council members to exercise their veto power sparingly, reserving it for “emergency cases.” However, the United States itself has faced criticism for blocking decisions in support of its Middle Eastern ally, Israel.
In response, Ukraine, with the backing of its UN partners, continues to advocate for the illegitimacy of Russia’s presence on the Security Council, citing an alleged violation of the admission procedure following the collapse of the USSR. However, according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Russia’s membership as the successor of the Soviet Union remains unquestionable.
Moscow agrees on the need to expand the Security Council, but not at the expense of Western and pro-Western countries such as Germany and Japan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov clarified that the expansion should solely include representatives from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as Western nations are perceived as hostile towards Russia and China.
The reform of the UN Security Council has only occurred once before, in 1963, when non-permanent members were added, increasing the total from 11 to 15 countries. This expansion was prompted by the admission of numerous African nations to the UN. Discussions on further reforming the primary international organization resumed 20 years ago, but no version of the proposed changes has been adopted thus far.
It’s important to note that any reform of the UN Security Council requires approval from at least two-thirds of UN member states, necessitating parliamentary approval in each country. Additionally, all five permanent members of the council must ratify these changes. Consequently, this process could span several years. Given the current conflict dynamics, achieving consensus appears highly challenging, as Russia and China are expected to oppose Western countries and their allies.
In the event that the reform initiative fails, the United States intends to initiate a process aimed at replacing the UN with an alternative forum known as the Alliance for Democracy. This alternative approach seeks to align the international relations system with US strategic objectives.